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Rao   Bahadur  Ranchhodlal  Chhotalal,  CLE. 



l\ao   35atjatsur 
&antf)l)o&lal  Cpotalal,  CX<£., 

Late  Member  of  the  Legislative  Council,  Bombay, 
and  Founder  of  the  Mill  Industry  of  Gujarat. 


S.   M.   EDWARDES,   C.S.I.,   C.V.O., 



SIR  H.   EVAN  M.  JAMES,  K.C.I.E.,  C.S.I., 


Printed  for  Private  Circulation  only. 






Introduction  -  -  -  -  -  i 

Chapter  I  Caste,  Parentage  and  Birth        -  i 

„  II  Boyhood,  Marriage,  and  Education        -  8 

„  III  Service  under  the  Bombay  Government  12 

„  IV  Commercial  Enterprises    -           -           -  19 

„  V  Local  Self-Government     -           -           -26 

„  VI  Politics        -           -           -           -           -  44 

,,  VII  Public  Charities,  Character,  and  Death  53 

Index  And  Glossary          -           -           -           -           -  67 


It  was  for  many  years  my  ambition  to  write  a  memoir 
of  Rao  Bahadur  Ranchhodlal  Chhotalal,  one  of  the  ablest, 
most  courteous  and  most  progressive  Hindu  gentlemen 
with  whom  it  was  ever  my  lot  to  be  associated  during  my 
thirty-five  years'  career  in  India.  It  was  to  assist  in  the 
fulfilment  of  this  object  that  some  years  after  I  had  left 
Ahmadabad,  Mr.  Ranchhodlal's  grandson,  the  late  Sir 
Chinubhai  Madhavlal,  Bart.,  C.I.E.,  kindly  entrusted 
me  with  a  long  typewritten  account  of  his  grandfather's 
career,  prepared  by  Mr.  Trikamlal  Damodhardas,  a  High 
Court  pleader  of  Ahmadabad,  which  he  was  anxious  that 
I  should  use  in  the  preparation  of  the  long  contemplated 
biography.  I  also  collected  further  information  from  other 
friends  and  acquaintances,  among  whom  I  must  particularly 
mention  Rao  Bahadur  Bulakhidas,  late  District  Deputy 
Collector  ;  Mr.  Trikamlal  Dinanath,  who  supplied  me  with 
certain  information  and  statistics  relating  to  the  mill  industry 
in  Gujarat,  and  Mr.  A.  H.  A.  Simcox,  I.C.S.,  who,  in  1916, 
while  he  was  serving  as  Collector  of  Ahmadabad,  sent  me 
a  very  useful  note  on  the  water-supply  and  drainage  s}Tstem 
of  that  city.  The  India  Office  records  were  also  consulted, 
and  Mr.  Iy.  Robertson,  C.S.I.,  Secretary  to  the  Bombay 
Government,  helped  me  with  some  valuable  details.  A 
variety  of  circumstances  prevented  me  from  utilising  the 
collected  materials  and  commencing  to  write  the  memoir 
of  my  old  friend  until  the  close  of  1919  ;  and  then,  alas  !  I 
began  to  realise  that  the  energy  requisite  for  such  a  com- 
pilation was  no  longer  vouchsafed  to  me.  L'homme  propose, 
Dieu  dispose.  Almost  in  despair,  I  appealed  to  another 
retired  Indian  Civilian,  Mr.  S.  M.  Edwardes,  who  served, 
like  myself,  in  the  Bombay  Presidency,  to  write  the  memoir 
for  me  and  so  assist  me  in  paying  my  last  tribute  to  the 


memory  of  my  old  friend,  the  founder  of  modern  Ahmada- 
bad,  and  he  most  kindly  consented.  The  following  pages, 
descriptive  of  the  career  and  character  of  Rao  Bahadur 
Ranchhodlal,  are  thus  the  work  of  Mr.  Edwardes,  who  has 
freely  utilised  the  typewritten  memorandum  of  Mr. 
Trikamlal  Damodhardas  and  the  rest  of  the  scattered 
materials  above-mentioned.  The  author  has  enhanced  the 
value  of  the  publication  by  the  inclusion  of  a  combined 
index  and  glossary  designed  to  assist  English  readers  who 
may  be  unacquainted  with  Indian  terms  and  nomenclature. 
And  now  I  am  fain  to  add  a  brief  word  to  the  tale  set 
forth  in  the  succeeding  pages.  Between  April,  1888,  and 
November,  1891,  I  held  the  appointment  of  Collector  and 
Magistrate  of  Ahmadabad  and  Commissioner  of  the  Northern 
Division  at  the  very  time  when  Mr.  Ranchhodlal  Chhotalal 
was  immersed  in  the  heavy  task  of  introducing  an  improved 
water-supply  and  a  modern  system  of  sanitation  into  the 
populous  capital  of  Gujarat.  Mr.  Ranchhodlal  was  at 
that  date  President  of  the  Ahmadabad  Municipality,  having 
been  appointed  a  year  or  two  before  my  arrival  by  Lord 
Reay's  Government.  He  was  the  first  Indian  gentleman 
chosen  for  the  post,  in  pursuance  of  the  policy  of  Lord 
Ripon  of  associating  Indians  with  the  work  of  local  self- 
government  ;  and  in  his  capacity  as  President  he  became 
responsible  for  all  the  executive  work  of  the  municipality. 
The  appointment  was  no  sinecure,  as  anyone  with  experience 
of  urban  administration  in  India  will  readily  admit. 
Scarcely  a  day  passed,  while  I  was  in  Ahmadabad,  that  Mr. 
Ranchhodlal  did  not  call  upon  me  early  in  the  morning  to 
consult  me  about  improvements  and  reforms  or  to  report 
the  progress  of  his  schemes.  Consequently,  I  soon  became 
on  terms  of  great  intimacy  with  him  and  learned  to  appre- 
ciate his  tact,  ability  and  modesty.  His  actual  achievements 
in  municipal  administration  are  described  in  a  later  page, 
as  also  his  successful  introduction  into  Gujarat  of  the  cotton- 
spinning  and  weaving  industry.  The  latter  work  formed 
the  basis  of  the  large  fortune  which  he  gradually  accumu- 


lated — a  fortune  which  was  subsequently  developed  by  his 
son  and  grandson  I  have  been  told  by  leading  men  of 
business  in  Ahmadabad  that  Ranchhodlal  could  have 
accumulated  much  greater  wealth,  had  he  elected  to  devote 
his  whole  time  to  the  textile  industry  instead  of  spending 
a  large  portion  of  the  day  on  the  problems  of  urban  improve- 
ment. After  I  left  Ahmadabad,  Mr.  Ranchhodlal  became 
a  member  of  the  Legislative  Council  of  the  Governor  of 
Bombay.  His  work  on  the  Council  was  marked  by  the 
same  sincerity  and  the  same  degree  of  personal  application 
that  had  characterised  his  work  in  Ahmadabad. 

Mr.  Ranchhodlal  was  one  of  the  few  Hindu  gentlemen  I 
have  known  who  maintained  throughout  life  an  un- 
questioning and  unshaken  attachment  to  the  faith  of  their 
ancestors.  This  devotion  was  combined  with  a  most 
progressive  spirit  in  material  and  mundane  affairs.  I  well 
remember  how  once,  after  his  return  from  Bhimnath,  a 
remote  and  very  holy  spot  in  the  Himalayas,  whither  he 
had  made  a  pilgrimage  with  some  of  his  family,  he  sought 
my  assistance  in  carrying  out  certain  projects  designed  for 
the  benefit  of  the  pilgrims  who  annually  visited  the  shrine. 
He  was  anxious  that  the  flights  of  steps  leading  to  the 
sacred  waters  should  be  repaired  or  rebuilt,  and  that  certain 
sanitary  works,  the  value  of  which  he  had  learnt  to  appre- 
ciate in  Ahmadabad,  should  be  constructed.  He  believed 
that  if  I,  as  District  Magistrate,  appealed  on  his  behalf 
to  the  Deputy  Commissioner  of  the  district,  with  whom 
he  was  personally  unacquainted,  and  remitted  the  money 
required  for  these  projects  to  him,  there  was  greater  possi- 
bility of  the  amount  being  advantageously  expended. 
Gladly  did  I  write  to  the  officer,  explaining  the  situation 
and  Ranchhodlal's  object,  and  in  due  course  received 
a  cordial  reply,  as  a  result  of  which  Ranchhodlal  forwarded 
through  me  a  sum  of  two  thousand  rupees  to  meet  the  cost 
of  the  necessary  works. 

Reference  is  made  in  the  pages  of  this  memoir  to 
Ranchhodlal's    son,    Madhavlal,    with    whom    I    was     also 


acquainted.  His  death  on  April  4th,  1900,  marked  the 
close  of  a  calm  and  uneventful  life,  and  the  fortunes  of  the 
family  were  then  transferred  to  the  keeping  of  his  son, 
Chinubhai,  upon  whom  the  mantle  of  Ranchhodlal  had 
truly  fallen.  For  not  only  was  he  a  great  captain  of 
industry,  controlling  two  of  the  largest  and  most  successful 
cotton  mills  in  India,  but,  like  his  grandfather,  he  played 
a  prominent  part  in  civic  affairs,  and  gave  on  a  princely  scale 
to  philanthropic  and  educational  objects.  The  progressive 
educational  policy  which  marked  Lord  Sydenham's  term  of 
office  as  Governor  of  Bombay,  found  in  Sir  Chinubhai  a  warm 
supporter.  He  gave  £60,000  for  scientific  and  technical 
education  at  Ahmadabad,  £20,000  to  the  Gujarat  College, 
and  £6,666  to  the  Sydenham  College  of  Commerce  in  Bombay. 
These  handsome  donations,  together  with  his  active  partici- 
pation in  public  affairs,  brought  their  natural  reward.  In 
1 910  Sir  Chinubhai  Madhalval  received  a  knighthood,  and 
three  years  later  a  baronetcy,  being  the  first  member  of  the 
Hindu  community  to  receive  the  latter  distinction.  His 
death  in  March,  1916,  at  the  comparatively  early  age  of 
fifty- two,  closed  a  career  which  seemed  to  be  imbued  with  the 
spirit  of  Ranchhodlal's  achievements  and  offers  an  inspiring 
example  to  his  young  son,  born  in  1906,  who  is  now  the 
guardian  of  the  family  wealth  and  traditions  of  service  for 
the  public  weal.  May  the  latter  uphold  worthily  the 
standard  set  by  bis  distinguished  great-grandsire,  of  whom 
it  may  be  truly  said  : — 

' '  His  life  was  gentle ;    and  the  elements 
So  mix'd  in  him,  that  Nature  might  stand  up 
And  say  to  all  the  world,  '  This  was  a  man  ! '" 

H.  E.  M.  James. 


Chapter  I. 

Caste,    Parentage,    and    Birth. 

Ranchhodlal  Chhotalal,  the  subject  of  this  memoir, 
belonged  to  the  Sathodra  division  of  the  Nagar  Brahmans 
of  Gujarat,  which  takes  its  name  from  the  village  of  Sathod 
in  the  Baroda  State,  whither,  according  to  tradition,  sixty 
families  of  Nagar  Brahmans  of  Vadnagar  were  transferred 
during  the  thirteenth  century  a.d.,  by  a  ruler  of  the  ancient 
Vaghela  dynasty.  The  Nagar  Brahmans,  whose  other 
more  important  divisions  are  the  Vadnagar  and  the  Vishal- 
nagar  or  Visnagar,  have  a  long  and  illustrious  history. 
Modern  research  has  shown  that  they  were  originally  the 
priests  of  the  powerful  Gurjara  tribes,  who  entered  India 
from  the  Central  Asian  steppes  in  the  trail  of  the  Hunas 
or  White  Huns  during  the  fifth  and  sixth  centuries  a.d.,  and 
whose  name  survives  in  that  of  the  Gujars  of  the  present  day. 
These  Gurjaras,  who  are  shown  by  inscriptions  to  have 
ultimately  developed  into  the  Pratihara  sept  of  Rajputs, 
founded  kingdoms  at  Broach  and  at  Bhinmal  in  Southern 
Rajputana  ;  while  the  ancestor  of  the  famous  Guhilots  or 
Sisodiyas  of  Mewar — the  proudest  of  the  Rajput  septs — 
was  actually,  as  Professor  D.  R.  Bhandarkar  has  proved, 
a  Nagar  Brahman  from  Vadnagar  (Anandapur),  a  town 
now  included,   like  Sathodra,   in  the   Baroda  State.     The 


Nagar  Brahmans  as  a  class  may  therefore  be  said  to  have 
an  ancient  and  historical  connection  with  those  early  Huna- 
Gurjara  invaders,  whose  upper  ranks  gradually  crystallised, 
after  their  settlement  in  India,  into  the  leading  Rajput 
clans  of  Sisodia  or  Guhilot,  Parihara  or  Pratihara,  Chahu- 
manas  or  Chauhans,  Pramaras  or  Pawars,  and  Solankis, 
otherwise  known  as  Chalukyas.1  This  fact  may  account 
largely  for  the  political  ability  and  capacity  for  public  affairs 
which  undoubtedly  distinguishes  the  Nagar  Brahmans  of 
Gujarat.  "  The  Nagara  community,"  wrote  General  Le 
Grand  Jacob,  "  is  very  powerful  in  the  Peninsula  (Kathia- 
war)  ;  they  are  by  profession  a  corps  diplomatique,  and 
devoted  to  the  arts  of  government.  They  are  a  shrewd 
race,  and  work  their  way  into  almost  every  Darbar  by  their 
ability  and  tact ;  most  of  the  native  servants  of  Government 
are  of  this  class."2  The  Sathodra  Nagars,  to  whom  Ranch- 
hodlal  belonged,  are  mentioned  by  Wilson  as  belonging  to 
the  Madhyandin  Shakha  of  the  White  Yajurveda  and  as 
being  resident  in  various  cities  and  towns  of  Gujarat. 
According  to  the  latest  information  there  are  few,  if  an}7-, 
of  them  now  residing  in  the  village  of  Sathod. 

Ranchhodlal's  ancestors  were  true  to  the  official  tradi- 
tions of  the  Nagar  caste.  One  of  them,  Vallabhji  Kanji, 
held  the  office  of  chief  minister  in  Malwa  ;  another,  on  the 
maternal  side,  named  Umedram,  served  as  Vazir  to  the 
Babi  chiefs  of  Balasinor,  a  state  now  included  in  the  Rewa 
Kantha  Political  Agency,  and  was  succeeded  in  the  same 
office  by  his  son,  Harshadrai  ;  while  Anand  Rai  Mashraf, 
Ranchhodlal's  great  grandfather  on  his  mother's  side,  was 
the  minister  of  Kamal-ud-din  Khan  Babi,  known  usually 
by  his  title  of  Jawan  Mard  Khan,  the  last  Mughal  viceroy 
of  Gujarat,  whose  family  is  now  represented  b}'  the  Nawab 

1  W.  Crooke,  on  Rajputs  and  Mahrattas,  in  Journal  Royal  Anthropo- 
logical Institute,  vol.  xl,  1910;  Vincent  H.  Smith,  Akbar,  p.  85,  and 
Oxford  History  of  India,  pp.  173,  181. 

J  Quoted  on  p.  99,  vol.  ii,  of  Indian  Caste,  by  J.  Wilson,  1877. 


of  Radhanpur,  a  native  state  in  the  Palanpur  Agency.1 
The  Mughal  Emperors  of  Delhi  continued  to  appoint 
viceroys  to  Gujarat  until  1748  ;  but  their  power  was  purely 
nominal.  For  absolute  anarchy  reigned  in  the  province, 
which  was  ravaged  impartially  by  the  hostile  leaders  of 
the  Peshwa's  and  the  Gaekwar's  armies,  by  the  Rajas  of 
Jodhpur,  by  the  agents  of  the  Nizam-ul-Mulk,  and  by  local 
Moslem  chiefs  like  the  Babis,  to  whom  Jawan  Mard  Khan 
himself  belonged,  the  Jhaloris  who  settled  at  Palanpur,  and 
Momin  Khan,  who  began  to  scheme  for  the  independence 
of  Cambay  about  1736.  In  1745,  during  this  period  of 
anarchy,  Anand  Rai  Mashraf  was  assassinated,2  and  in  1753, 
Kamal-ud-din  Khan  (Jawan  Mard  Khan)  was  expelled 
from  Ahmadabad  by  Raghunath  Rao  Peshwa  and  Damaji 
Gaekwar,  two  of  the  leaders  of  the  Maratha  power. 

Anand  Rai  Mashraf  left  behind  him  a  daughter,  Prankor, 
who  subsequently  married  Udayashankar,  an  orthodox 
Nagar  Brahman,  and  bore  him  a  son,  Chhotalal,  the  father 
of  Ranchhodlal,  whose  history  is  herein  set  forth.  Udaya- 
shankar, after  serving  the  ex- Viceroy  for  some  time  at 
Patan,  accepted  an  appointment  in  the  service  of  Damaji 
Gaekwar,  and  eventually  died  at  Patan  in  1799,  leaving 
behind  him  his  widow,  Prankor,  and  two  sons,  Chhotalal, 
born  in  1781,  and  Lalbhai,  who  was  born  two  years  later. 
At  this  date  the  practice  of  Sati  (Suttee)  was  universal  ;  and 
the  lady  Prankor,  whose  attachment  to  her  husband  was 
only  equalled  by  her  orthodoxy,   determined  in  spite   of 

1  The  Babis  were  an  Afghan  family  of  importance.  The  first  Babi 
entered  India  with  the  Emperor  Humayun.  Bahadur  Khan  Babi  was 
appointed  Faujdar  of  Tharad  in  the  reign  of  Shah  Jahan.  In  1693  his 
son,  J  afar  Khan,  obtained  the  Faujdari  of  Radhanpur  and  other  districts, 
with  the  title  of  Safdar  Khan.  In  1704  he  was  made  Governor  of  Bijapur 
(in  Gujarat)  and  in  1706  of  Patan.  The  Babis  also  founded  the  Junagadh 
and  Balasinor  States. 

2  His  murderer  is  said  to  have  been  a  son  of  Jawan  Mard  Khan,  who 
had  quarrelled  with  his  father,  and  suspected  Anand  Rai  of  poisoning  his 
father's  mind  against  him. 


remonstrance  to  immolate  herself  upon  her  husband's  pyre.1 
The  ceremony  took  place  upon  the  banks  of  the  sacred 
river  Sarasvati ;  and  here,  at  the  spot  where  their  mother 
passed  out  of  their  lives,  the  two  boys  built  a  temple  which 
Ranchhodlal,  honouring  the  memory  of  his  pious  grand- 
mother, caused  to  be  repaired  about  two-  years  before  his 

The  two  sons,  thus  bereft  of  both  parents,  faced  the 
future  bravely.  Chhotalal,  the  elder  and  more  able  of  the 
two,  managed  to  obtain  the  post  which  his  father  had  held 
under  the  Maratha  government  at  Patan,  where,  in  addition 
to  the  discharge  of  his  official  duties,  he  studied  Persian  to 
such  good  purpose  that  he  was  able  to  read  Persian  medical 
works  with  ease  and  acquired  a  considerable  reputation  for 
his  treatment  of  diseases.  Chhotalal  in  due  time  married 
Labhma,  daughter  of  Umedram,  the  chief  minister  of 
Balasinor,  who  is  described  as  having  possessed  "  every 
womanly  virtue."  Their  first  child  was  a  daughter,  whom 
they  named  Mohotiba.  Upon  her  Chhotalal  and  his  wife 
lavished  all  their  love,  and  she  in  return  rendered  them 
affectionate  obedience.  At  the  age  of  eight  she  was  married, 
according  to  Hindu  custom,  to  a  Nagar  Brahman  boy  of 
high  family,  who  died  before  his  girl-wife  had  completed 
her  twelfth  year.  The  disabilities  of  Hindu  widowhood 
pressed  heavily  upon  Mohotiba,  who  was  forbidden  by  caste 
rules  to  remarry,  and  was  obliged  to  contemplate  an  unhappy 
future  in  which  the  performance  of  minor  household  duties 
would  alternate  with  the  performance  of  the  penances  pre- 

1  The  practice  of  Suttee  was  finally  abolished  by  Regulation  XVII  of 
1829,  during  Lord  William  Bentinck's  administration.  The  Regulation 
applied  to  Bengal  only,  but  was  followed  by  similar  enactments  in  the 
Bombay  and  Madras  Presidencies.  The  practice  of  Suttee  is  very  ancient  ; 
it  was  well  established  in  the  Punjab  in  the  fourth  century  B.C. ;  whole- 
sale burnings  of  women  were  perpetrated  by  the  Rayas  of  Vijayanagar. 
The  feeling  in  favour  of  the  rite  is  not  quite  extinct  yet.  A  case  occurred 
in  Bihar  as  late  as  1905,  and  sporadic  cases  during  the  nineteenth  century 
are  on  record.     (See  V.  A.  Smith,  Oxford  History  of  India,  pp.  663-66.) 


scribed  for  widows  in  the  Shastras.  The  spectacle  of  their 
only  daughter's  ill-fortune  told  so  heavily  upon  Chhotalal 
and  his  wife  that  they  determined  to  relinquish  their  home 
and  pass  the  remainder  of  their  lives  in  seclusion.  With 
this  object  Chhotalal,  who  was  now  in  his  thirty-eighth 
year,  handed  over  all  his  property  and  effects  to  his  brother, 
Lalbhai,  and  set  forth  with  his  wife,  his  widowed  daughter 
and  one  servant  to  the  sacred  city  of  Benares.  The  journey 
was  long  and  tedious.  Railways  were  then  unknown  ;  the 
roads  were  rough  and  unmetalled,  and  ran  through  tracts 
inhabited  by  robbers  or  infested  by  wild  animals.  Yet 
Chhotalal  and  his  small  party,  patiently  bearing  the  diffi- 
culties of  the  journey,  reached  Benares  in  safety  about 
three  months  later.  Here  they  abode  for  two  years,  during 
which  time  a  second  daughter  was  born  to  them,  whom  they 
named  Kashiba  after  her  birth-place.1  They  then  moved 
to  another  place  of  great  sanctity,  Mathura  on  the  river 
Jumna.  Here  likewise  they  rested  for  two  years,  and  then, 
in  response  to  repeated  entreaties  from  Lalbhai,  and  finding 
that  time  had  laid  a  healing  hand  upon  their  grief,  they 
resolved  to  return  to  Gujarat. 

On  their  way  back  they  visited  the  famous  Girnar 
mountain,  about  ten  miles  east  of  Junagadh  in  Kathiawar, 
which  rises  3,500  feet  above  sea-level.  Arriving  at  the  foot 
of  the  mountain  late  in  the  evening  they  lost  their  way  in 
the  darkness  and  reached  their  destination  after  great  delay. 
An  aged  ascetic — the  only  living  creature  in  the  place  where 
they  halted,  hungry  and  fatigued — took  pity  on  them, 
provided  them  with  water  and  a  few  edible  roots,  and 
permitted  them  to  pass  the  night  in  his  company.  In  the 
course  of  conversation  with  the  Sadhu,  Mohotiba  enquired 
whether  her  parents  would  be  blessed  with  a  son,  to  which 
he  replied  in  the  affirmative,  adding  that  the  god  Hari 
would  send  a  son  "  who  would  become  famous  for  good 
deeds."  On  the  following  day  the  party  set  forth  again 
on  their  journey  to  Patan,  halting  for  a  few  days  on  the  way 

1  Kashi  is  a  synonym  of  Benares. 


at  Dakor,  a  celebrated  place  of  pilgrimage  in  the  Kaira 
district,  where  there  is  a  temple  of  Ranchhodji  or  Krishna. 
Here  on  the  15th  of  the  dark  half  of  Chaitra  Samvat,  1879, 
i.e.,  April  29th,  1823,  Chhotalal's  wife  gave  birth  to  a  son, 
whom  his  parents  named  Ranchhod  in  honour  of  the  deity 
of  Dakor.1 

After  his  return,  Chhotalal  resumed  his  official  career 
and  served  at  Patan  until  1828,  in  which  year  the  British 
Government  found  it  necessary  to  sequestrate  the  Gaekwari 
districts  of  Petlad,  Kadi,  Dabhoi,  Amreli,  and  Songhad, 
together  with  certain  revenues  from  Kathiawar,  Mahikantha, 
and  Rewa  Kantha  in  satisfaction  of  a  debt  aggregating  more 
than  one  crore  and  seven  lakhs  of  rupees  due  by  the  Gaekwar, 
Sayaji  Rao.  The  collection  of  the  revenues  of  these  districts 
and  the  general  control  of  their  administration  was  entrusted 
to  the  Gaekwar 's  chief  minister,  Vithal  Rao  Devji,  who 
fixed  his  headquarters  at  Amreli.  During  a  visit  to  Patan  he 
met  Chhotalal  and  recognising  his  ability,  offered  him  the 
appointment  of  Bakshi  or  Army  Paymaster,  which  Chhotalal 
accepted.  The  latter  thereupon  moved  with  his  family  from 
Patan  to  Amreli,  his  son,  Ranchhod,  or  Ranchhodlal,  being 
at  the  time  about  six  years  old.  Vithal  Rao  Devji,  dying  in 
1831,  was  succeeded  by  his  brother,  Govind  Rao,  who  held 
office  only  until  April,  1832,  when  by  an  agreement  sanctioned 
by  Lord  Clare,  Governor  of  Bombay,  the  sequestrated 
estates  were  restored  to  the  Gaekwar,  and  Govind  Rao,  who 
together  with  his  brother,  Vithal  Rao,  had  incurred  the 
displeasure  of  Sayaji  Rao  Gaekwar,  was  dismissed  from 
office  by  the  latter.  Chhotalal  shared  the  fate  of  Govind 
Rao,  who  was  forbidden  by  the  Gaekwar  to  enter  Baroda  ; 
and  the  two  families  therefore  emigrated  to  Ahmadabad, 
where  Govind  Rao  and  Chhotalal  both  purchased  houses 
in  Desai's  Pol.  Ultimately  however  in  1841,  the  Gaekwar 
relented  and  gave  the  Devji  family  permission  to  return  to 
Baroda,  whither  they  were  followed  by  their  devoted  friend, 

1  The  image  of  Ranchhod  at  Dakor  is  said  to  have  been  brought  from 
Dwarka  by  a  Rajput  named  Bodhano. 


Chhotalal,   who  remained  with  his  family  at   Baroda  till 
within  a  few  years  of  his  death. 

Chhotalal  appears  from  such  accounts  as  exist  to  have 
been  a  man  of  sterling  character.  Orthodox  in  his  views, 
he  performed  the  daily  duties  of  his  religion  with  scrupulous 
regularity  and  was  careful  to  carry  out  other  ceremonies 
enjoined  by  the  Shastras  upon  the  Brahmanical  classes. 
His  household  was  orderly  and  well-managed,  and  the 
members  of  the  famity  were  united  by  bonds  of  mutual 
affection  and  esteem.  Though  his  monthly  salary  at 
Amreli  and  Baroda  was  by  no  means  excessive,  his  econo- 
mical habits  enabled  him  to  effect  savings,  which,  invested 
in  good  securities,  formed  the  foundations  of  a  respectable 
competence  for  his  later  years.  His  work  as  Bakshi,  in 
which  there  must  have  been  ample  opportunity  for  pecu- 
lation, was  discharged  with  honesty  and  efficiency.  To  a 
dignified,  almost  austere,  manner,  he  united  a  rare  suavity 
of  speech,  scorning  to  use  the  pronoun  "  thou,"  and  address- 
ing even  children  in  terms  redolent  of  courtly  Persian 
etiquette.  Always  abstemious  in  diet  and  eschewing  self- 
indulgence  in  any  form,  Chhotalal  throughout  his  life 
cultivated  the  habit  of  self-reliance  and  never  entrusted  to 
others  work  which  he  felt  himself  capable  of  performing. 
The  natural  devotion  and  gravity  of  his  character,  coupled 
with  the  love  of  his  wife  and  children,  enabled  him  to  bear 
the  heaviest  sorrows  of  his  life,  namely  the  widowhood  of 
his  elder  daughter,  Mohotiba,  and  the  desertion  of  the 
younger,  Kashiba,  whose  husband,  to  whom  she  had  been 
married  at  the  age  of  eight,  suddenly  left  home  for  an 
unknown  destination  and  was  never  heard  of  again.  The 
burden  of  these  misfortunes,  accepted  with  the  true  Hindu 
spirit  of  resignation,  must  have  been  lightened  by  the  sight 
of  his  only  son,  Ranchhod,  waxing  daily  in  health  and 
strength  throughout  his  childhood  and  giving  proof  of  a 
natural  disposition  to  follow  the  example  of  his  devoted 
parents  and  imbibe  the  lessons  of  a  tranquil  and  well- 
ordered   home. 



Chapter  II. 

Boyhood,  Marriage,  and  Education. 

Ranchhodlal's  boyhood  was  uneventful.  The  fact  that 
he  was  their  only  son  was  doubtless  responsible  for  the 
unusual  care  taken  by  his  parents  to  shield  him  from  harm  ; 
for  we  learn  that  he  was  never  permitted  to  go  abroad  in 
the  company  of  strangers  and  that  arrangements  were  made 
at  home  for  his  recreation,  a  few  chosen  boys  of  his  own 
age  being  admitted  to  the  house  as  his  playmates.  These 
precautions  were  naturally  relaxed  as  he  grew  older,  and 
b>y  the  time  he  had  reached  the  age  of  thirteen  he  was 
accustomed  to  move  about  with  as  little  -  restraint  as  other 
boys  of  his  age.  The  influence  of  this  upbringing  is  perhaps 
indicated  by  his  predilection  for  chess-playing  with  his 
elders — a  form  of  amusement  in  which  he  showed  con- 
siderable skill.  When  he  was  eight  years  old  his  Upanayana 
or  investiture  with  the  sacred  thread  was  celebrated,1  and 
in  the  same  year  he  was  married  to  Jethiba,  the  daughter 
of  a  wealthy  government  official,  named  Bapuji  Mansukhram 
who  held  the  office  of  principal  Sadr  Amin2  in  the  city  of 
Ahmadabad.  Jethiba,  whose  name  will  be  mentioned  in 
later  pages,  is  described  as  a  bright  and  intelligent  girl, 
who  had  been  taught  reading  and  writing  and  elementary 
accounting,  and  had  acquired  a  fair  knowledge  of  household 
management  and  economy  in  her  father's  home.  Of  a 
devout  nature  she  was  a  constant  visitor  to  the  temple 

1  The  meaning  of  tne  word  Upanayana  is  "  introduction  to  knowledge," 
for  by  it  a  Brahman  acquires  the  right  to  study.  From  the  moment  of 
investiture  with  the  triple  cord  he  enters  the  first  of  the  four  stages  of  a 
Brahman's  life,  namely  that  of  Brahmachari. 

:  This  post  was  equivalent  to  that  of  a  First  Class  Subordinate  Judge 
in  these  days. 


which  her  father  erected  in  the  street,  where  she  subse- 
quently lived  with  her  husband  Ranchhodlal,  and  her 
charity,  which  was  not  the  least  of  her  virtues,  took  the 
form  of  grants  of  free  medicine  and  free  food  to  all  classes, 
and  of  clothing  and  vessels  to  the  Brahmans  and  mendicants 
who  visited  her  house  for  alms. 

Ranchhodlal  was  six  years  old  when  he  commenced  his 
education  at  a  private  school  in  Amreli.  Education  in  those 
days  was  of  a  perfunctory  and  limited  type,  for  no  regular 
schools  had  been  established  by  the  State  and  there  were 
very  few  books  to  read.  Up  to  the  middle  of  the  nineteenth 
century  the  indigenous  schools,  as  the  late  Mr.  K.N.  Kabraji 
has  recorded,  were  owned  by  so-called  Mehetajis,  penurious 
men  of  limited  intellect,  who  often  held  their  classes  on  the 
verandah  of  a  house  free  of  rent.  Chairs  and  tables  were 
unknown,  and  very  few  pupils  possessed  slates  or  pencils, 
their  place  being  taken  by  a  portable  wooden  board,  on 
which  the  pupil  wrote  with  a  reed  pen  dipped  in  a  chalky 
fluid  and  which  was  repainted  at  Divali  by  the  Mchetaji  for  a 
small  fee.  When  his  parents  moved,  as  recorded  above,  to 
Ahmadabad,  Ranchhodlal  was  sent  to  an  elementary  school 
of  this  type  kept  by  one  Tuljaram  Master  and  acquired  there 
a  smattering  of  Gujarathi  literature.  Thanks,  however,  to 
his  father  Chhotalal,  who  was  a  good  Persian  scholar, 
Ranchhodlal  was  taught  the  rudiments  of  the  Persian 
language,  which  was  at  that  date  in  constant  use  in  the 
couits  and  offices  of  government,  and  having  made  good 
progress  under  his  father's  personal  tuition,  was  placed 
for  further  study  under  Munshi  Bapubhai,  a  Nagar  Brahman, 
and  later  under  Maulvi  Faizuddin,  both  of  whom  were 
Persian  scholars  of  some  repute.  Nor  was  Sanskrit  forgotten. 
When  Ranchhodlal  was  thirteen,  his  father  arranged  for  him 
to  study  the  sacred  language  under  a  Pandit  named  Bindu 
Vyasa,  with  whose  assistance  he  made  rapid  progress  in  both 
Sanskrit  literature  and  philosophy,  showing  considerable 
aptitude  for  the  intelligent  discussion  of  some  of  the  intricate 
problems  enshrined    in    that    language.     His    success     in 


mastering  Persian  and  Sanskrit  served  to  direct  his  mind 
towards  fresh  fields  of  study,  and  he  determined  to  learn 
English.  But  here  the  difficulties  in  his  path  were  greater. 
No  proper  English  schools  were  in  existence  ;  suitable 
teachers  were  very  scarce  ;  the  extent  to  which  the  language 
was  used  in  Gujarat  was  very  limited,  and  the  public  had 
not  yet  begun  to  appreciate  the  advantages  of  English. 
He  was  obliged,  therefore,  at  first  to  attend  a  private  school 
opened  by  a  Portuguese  and  later  to  engage  as  tutor  a 
Marathi-speaking  native  of  the  Deccan.  But  he  soon 
mastered  all  that  they  could  teach  and  left  them  with  a 
feeling  of  disappointment  that  his  progress  had  been  so 

At  this  juncture  fortune  befriended  him.  The  British 
Resident  at  Baroda,  whose  headquarters  were  at  Ahmadabad, 
had  a  Daftardar  named  Sarabhai,  whose  son,  Bholanath,1 
was  one  of  Ranchhodlal's  friends.  The  visits  of  Ranch- 
hodlal's  father  Chhotalal,  in  company  with  Govind  Rao 
Devji,  to  the  Resident  on  official  business  had  led  to  an 
acquaintance  between  Chhotalal  and  Sarabhai,  which  soon 
ripened  into  friendship.  Sarabhai,  like  Chhotalal,  was  a 
good  Persian  scholar  and  also  possessed  a  tolerable  knowledge 
of  English,  and  believing  in  the  value  of  the  latter  language 
had  engaged  able  tutors  for  his  son.  Arrangements  were 
soon  made  for  Ranchhodlal  to  share  Bholanath's  studies, 
and  within  a  comparatively  short  time  Ranchhodlal  had 
attained  sufficient  mastery  of  the  language  to  enable  him 
to  continue  his  work  unaided.  He  was  never  averse  from 
seeking  assistance  from  those  willing  to  help  him,  and  at 
one  period  of  his  life,  when  he  was  employed  at  Gogha,  he 
learnt  much  from  an  English  missionary  who  was  stationed 
there.      But,    broadly    speaking,    the    foundation    of    his 

1  This  boy  afterwards  became  Rao  Bahadur  Bholanath  Sarabhai,  who 
served  Government  in  the  Judicial  Department,  and  was  closely  associated 
with  the  establishment  in  Ahmadabad  of  the  Prarthana  Samaj,  of  which 
he  acted  as  President  for  several  years.  He  composed  seveial  poetical 
works,  which  are  still  widely  read. 


knowledge  of  English  was  continuous  study  in  his  own 
house,  whereby  he  acquired  a  proficiency  which  attracted 
the  attention  of  British  officials  in  his  earlier  years  and 
enabled  him  in  later  years  to  take  an  active  share  in  the 
debates  in  the  Bombay  Legislative  Council.  Those  of  us 
who  know  India  of  the  twentieth  century  and  have  witnessed 
the  extraordinary  proficiency  in  English  which  many  Indians 
acquire  while  still  young,  may  be  disposed  to  make  light 
of  Ranchhodlal's  mastery  of  the  language.  But  if  we 
recollect  that  he  achieved  his  object  before  the  days  of  the 
Board  of  Education  and  before  the  establishment  of  a 
properly  organised  department  of  Public  Instruction  we 
shall  surely  not  hesitate  to  pay  a  tribute  both  to  his  natural 
intelligence  and  his  tenacity  of  purpose. 


Chapter  III. 

Service  under  the  Bombay  Government. 

In  a  petition  which  Rachhodlal  submitted  to  Government 
in  September,  1854,  he  states  that  he  finally  completed  his 
education  in  1842  and  in  the  same  year  was  appointed 
private  clerk  on  a  monthly  salary  of  Rs.  10  to  Mr.  A.  W. 
James,  Assistant  Collector  of  Customs  at  Ahmadabad,  who 
afterwards  became  a  District  Judge  in  the  service  of  the 
East  India  Company.  Two  years  later,  1844,  he  entered 
the  service  of  Government  as  clerk  on  Rs.  20  per  mensem 
in  the  Customs  department  at  Gogha  on  the  Gulf  of  Cambay, 
which,  at  that  date,  still  retained  a  certain  commercial 
importance,  and  had  not  yet  seen  its  trade  supremacy 
threatened  by  the  rival  town  of  Bhavnagar.  Here  Ranch- 
hodlal's  abilities  seem  to  have  attracted  the  notice  of  his 
superiors ;  for  Mr.  Remington,  the  District  Judge  of 
Ahmadabad  at  that  date,  recommended  him  to  the  favourable 
notice  of  Mr.  Thomas  Ogilvy,  the  Political  Agent  of  Rewa 
Kantha,  who  appointed  him  in  1845  English  clerk  in  the 
Agency  Office  on  a  salary  of  Rs.  30  per  mensem.  From  that 
date  his  abilities  earned  him  rapid  promotion.  In  1846,  he 
was  promoted  to  a  post  on  Rs.  40  per  mensem,  and  in  the 
following  year  was  deputed  to  serve  at  a  monthly  salary  of 
Rs.  60  in  the  Hereditary  Offices  in  Ahmadabad.  But  his 
late  chief  in  the  Rewa  Kantha  Agency  was  loath  to  lose  his 
services,  and  only  four  months  after  his  transfer  to  Ahma- 
dabad he  was  recalled  to  Rewa  Kantha  to  fill  the  appointment 
of  Daftardar1  on  a  salary  of  Rs.  75,  raised  subsequently 
to   Rs.  150   per  mensem.     In   the   capacity   of   Daftardar, 

1  Literally  "  Record-Keeper  "  ;  the  principal  native  revenue-officer  on 
the  establishment  of  the  head  of  a  district. 


Ranchhodlal  was  able  to  render  material  assistance  to 
Government  on  more  than  one  occasion.  When,  for  example, 
a  Commission  was  appointed  to  enquire  into  the  rights  and 
financial  condition  of  the  Girasias,  Watandars,  Desais  and 
Majumdars  of  Rewa  Kantha,  Ranchhodlal's  tact  and 
knowledge  of  the  conflicting  claims  of  the  various  parties 
were  largely  instrumental  in  effecting  a  speedy  settlement 
of  a  somewhat  complicated  problem.  His  assistance  was 
equally  valuable  in  connection  with  a  boundary  dispute 
between  the  British  Government  and  the  Rajpipla  State, 
which  is  bounded  partly  by  the  Mehwas  estates  of  Rewa 
Kantha  and  partly  by  British  districts  and  the  territory  of 
the   Gaekwar. 

Ranchhodlal's  services  were  duly  brought  to  the  notice 
of  the  Bombay  Government,  who  shortly  afterwards 
appointed  him  Assistant  Superintendent  of  Pavagarh1  in 
the  Panch  Mahals  district — a  post  corresponding  to  that 
of  Assistant  to  the  Political  Agent  in  these  days  and  the 
highest  appointment  to  which  an  Indian  in  the  political 
department  of  the  Government  could  at  that  date  aspire. 
The  Panch  Mahals  district  formed  part  of  the  territory  of 
the  Maharaja  Sindia,  who  eventually  transferred  it  to  the 
British  in  1861  ;  but  from  1853  until  the  date  of  transfer  the 
actual  administration  was  conducted  by  the  British  Govern- 
ment, who  introduced  order  into  the  chaotic  Maratha  revenue 
system,  and  abolished  the  transit  duties  and  other  vexatious 
levies  of  the  former  government.  Ranchhodlal,  whose 
salary  was  Rs.  300  per  mensem,  was  for  all  practical  purposes 
the    representative    of    the    Bombay    Government    in    this 

1  Pavagarh,  from  which  the  appointment  received  its  name,  is  a  famous 
hill-fort  in  the  Kalol  Taluka  of  the  Panch  Mahals  district.  Seized  by 
Chauhan  Rajputs  in  1300  a.d.,  it  was  reduced  by  Sultan  Mahmud  Begara 
in  1484,  after  a  two  years'  siege.  The  Emperor  Humayun  took  it  in  1535. 
In  1573  it  fell  into  the  hands  of  Akbar.  Sindia  seized  it  about  1761,  and 
Colonel  Woodington  captured  it  from  Sindia  in  1803.  It  was  restored  in 
1804  to  Sindia,  in  whose  possession  it  remained  until  1853,  when  the 
British  took  over  the  management  of  the  Panch  Mahals. 


corner  of  foreign  territory.  It  speaks  highly  for  his  abilities 
and  the  confidence  which  he  inspired  that  he  obtained  this 
appointment  when  he  was  barely  thirty  years  of  age.  The 
British  officers  of  the  Political  Department  under  whom 
he  served,  notably  Messrs.  Ogilvy  and  Samuel  Mansfield, 
Major  Browne  and  Major  Fuljames,  were  not  slow  to 
recognise  Ranchhodlal's  industry  and  intelligence  and  the 
punctilious  character  of  his  official  work,  and  even  after  he 
had  become  involved  in  the  unhappy  charges  which  led 
to  the  Bombay  Government  dispensing  with  his  services, 
they  found  it  difficult  to  believe  that  he  had  wittingly 
receded  from  the  strict  standard  of  integrity  which  he 
observed  while  still  serving  under  their  orders. 

Ranchhodlal  had  held  his  new  appointment  at  Pavagarh 
for  only  a  brief  period  when  the  storm  broke  over  his  head. 
Considering  his  services  to  Government  in  his  early  years 
and  the  distinguished  and  important  part  which  he  later 
played  in  the  commercial  and  municipal  history  of  Ah- 
madabad,  one  would  fain  draw  a  veil  over  the  transactions 
which  resulted,  justly  or  unjustly,  in  the  close  of  his  career 
as  a  servant  of  Government.  But  without  some  reference 
to  these  matters  Ranchhodlal's  biography  would  be  in- 
complete, and  the  very  repetition  of  the  tale  may  perhaps 
serve  to  point  the  moral  that  a  man  is  master  of  his  own 
destiny  and  may  rise,  even  as  Ranchodlal  did,  victorious 
over  the  mistakes  and  folhes  of  earlier  years.  Before  giving 
the  bare  facts  of  the  case  reflecting  on  Ranchhodlal's 
integrity,  it  is  but  fair  to  mention  that  his  Indian  biographer 
declares  the  whole  unhappy  affair  to  have  been  the  direct 
outcome  of  the  intrigues  of  Ranchhodlal's  enemies.  To 
support  this  view  he  refers  to  the  mutual  hostility  which 
subsisted  at  this  time  between  the  subordinate  officials 
and  clerks  of  the  Baroda  Residency  and  those  of  the  Political 
Agent,  Rewa  Kantha,  whose  headquarters  were  also  at 
Baroda  ;  to  the  enmity  felt  towards  Ranchhodlal  in  par- 
ticular by  the  native  agent  to  the  Baroda  Resident,  who 
endeavoured  for  some  time  to  embroil  the  young  Daftardar 


with  his  official  superiors  without  much  success,  and  even 
attempted  to  force  him  to  give  false  evidence  against  one 
Narsupant,  a  subordinate  official  of  the  Residency,  in  a 
prosecution  arising  out  of  charges  deliberately  and  in- 
geniously fabricated  against  the  latter  ;  and  finally  to  the 
determination  of  Ranchhodlal's  enemies,  many  of  whom 
were  doubtless  jealous  of  his  rapid  promotion,  to  make 
the  appointment  of  a  new  Political  Agent — a  man  "  who 
knew  not  Joseph " — the  occasion  for  humbling  Ranch- 
hodlal's pride  and  requiting  him  for  his  consistent  repulsion 
of  their  dishonest  advances. 

The  story  is  concerned  with  the  succession  of  an  adopted 
prince  to  the  gadi  (throne)  of  the  Lunawada  State  in  Rewa 
Kantha,  the  chief  of  which  is  a  Solanki  Rajput,  descended 
from  a  dynasty  which  ruled  at  Anhilwada  and  is  supposed 
to  have  established  itself  at  Virpur  in  a.d.  1225.  About  two 
centuries  later  the  family  removed  to  Lunawada,  having 
probably  been  driven  across  the  river  Mahi  by  the  increasing 
power  of  the  Muhammadan  Kings  of  Gujarat.1  In  June, 
1849,  the  chief  of  Lunawada,  Fateh  Sing  Partab  Sing,  died, 
and  as  he  had  no  heir  he  adopted  a  few  hours  before  his  death 
one  Dalpat  Sing,  a  distant  relative,  who  died  in  October,  1851. 
Accordingly  Mambai,  the  mother  of  the  late  Rana  Fateh 
Sing,  adopted  in  February,  1852,  one  Dallel  Sing  Salam  Sing 
as  Dalpat  Sing's  successor  ;  but  she  too  died  unfortunately 
before  the  Political  Agent,  Rewa  Kantha,  could  discuss 
the  matter  with  her  and  give  official  countenance  to  her 
choice.  Her  death  was  the  signal  for  various  competitors 
to  lay  claim  to  the  succession,  and  doubtless  opened  the 
way  for  a  great  deal  of  intrigue.     Eventually,  however,  the 

1  Lunawada  was  originally  tributary  to  both  the  Gaekwar  and  Sindia- 
The  rights  of  the  latter,  guaranteed  by  the  British  Government  in  18 19, 
were  transferred  by  him  with  the  cession  of  the  Panch  Mahals  in  1861. 
The  chief  town,  Lunawada,  is  so  called  after  the  god  Luneshwar,  whose 
shrine  still  stands  outside  the  Darkuli  Gate  of  the  town.  About  the 
beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century  the  town  was  a  centre  of  the  trade 
between  Malwa  and  Central  Gujarat. 


Bombay  Government  accepted  Dallel  Sing,  the  choice  of 
the  deceased  queen-mother,  and  he  was  formally  installed 
as  the  ruling  chief  of  Lunawada  on  September  22nd,  1852. 

By  1854  rumours  and  reports  had  reached  Major  Wallace, 
who  was  then  Political  Agent  of  Rewa  Kantha,  regarding 
Ranchhodlal's  activities  in  connection  with  the  Lunawada 
succession,  and  in  that  year  Ranchhodlal  was  suspended 
from  office  and  definitely  charged  by  Major  Wallace  with 
receiving  in  May,  1853,  through  his  wife,  Jethiba,  a  bribe 
of  8,000  Baroda  rupees  from  the  Chief  of  Lunawada,  on  the 
score  of  his  having  assisted  Dallel  Sing  in  succeeding  to  the 
gadi  by  his  supposed  official  influence  as  Daftardar  of  the 
Rewa  Kantha  Agency.  After  some  correspondence 
Ranchhodlal  was  tried  on  this  charge  before  a  Special 
Commissioner,  Mr.  Hebbert,  and  was  acquitted.  The 
prosecution  relied  chiefly  upon  a  statement  by  one  Jani 
Lakshmiram  Deoshankar,  the  chief  Karbhari  of  Lunawada, 
that  on  the  25th  May  he  had  paid  the  amount  above- 
mentioned  to  Ranchhodlal's  wife,  Jethiba,  at  their  house 
in  Ahmadabad.  Though  Jani  was  shown  conclusively  to 
have  received  the  sum  from  the  Raja  of  Lunawada,  there 
were  various  discrepancies  in  his  account  of  the  subsequent 
transaction.  In  Ranchhodlal's  defence,  his  wife,  Jethiba, 
pleaded  an  alibi,  stating  that  on  the  25th  May,  the  date  on 
which  she  was  alleged  by  the  prosecution  to  have  received 
the  rupees,  she  was  at  the  village  of  Dakor,  forty  miles 
away  from  Ahmadabad,  with  her  family  priest  Ambalal. 
She  supported  this  story  with  a  petition,  purporting 
to  have  been  presented  by  Ambalal  on  26th  May  to  the 
Police  Jamadar  at  Dakor,  asking  for  redress  in  the 
matter  of  a  minor  assault  which  had  been  made  upon  him. 
The  original  petition  was  produced  at  the  enquiry  held  by 
the  Special  Commissioner.  It  was  subsequently  shown 
however  that  the  Dakor  register-book,  in  which  the  petition 
had  been  filed,  had  been  tampered  with,  and  that  in  all 
probability  the  petition,  upon  which  the  alibi  mainly  rested, 
was   a   forgery.     This   led   to   the   prosecution   before   the 


Political  Agent  of  three  persons  for  tampering  with  the 
village  records,  all  of  whom  were  convicted  and  sentenced 
in  the  first  instance,  but  were  subsequently  released  on  a 
ruling  of  the  High  Court  at  Bombay  that  the  three  accused 
were  not  subject  to  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Rewa  Kantha 
Agency.  Ranchhodlal  having  thus  been  acquitted,  the 
question  of  his  reinstatement  in  the  service  of  Government 
had  to  be  decided,  and  in  reply  to  a  letter  from  the  Bombay 
Government  soliciting  his  opinion,  Major  Wallace  wrote  a 
long  report  criticising  Mr.  Hebbert's  judgment  adversely 
and  declaring  that,  in  his  view,  the  alibi  put  forward  by 
Ranchhodlal's  wife  was  false.  The  Government,  accepting 
Major  Wallace's  opinion,  dispensed  with  Ranchhodlal's 
services  and  declined  to  employ  him  again  in  any  capacity. 

The  case  then  entered  upon  a  new  phase.  Ranchhodlal, 
smarting  under  the  implied  opprobrium,  whether  deserved 
or  undeserved,  asserted  that  the  fraud  in  respect  of  the 
village  documents  at  Dakor  was  not  committed  by  anyone 
in  his  interests  but  at  the  instance  of  his  enemies,  and  he 
proceeded  for  the  first  and  last  time  in  his  life  to  prefer 
a  charge  of  forgery  against  one  man  and  of  perjury  against 
another,  whom  together  he  held  responsible  for  his  undoing. 
So  far  as  the  law  was  concerned,  Ranchhodlal  was  again 
successful  ;  for  although  the  former  accused  was  acquitted, 
the  latter  was  found  guilty  and  punished,  while  both  Mr. 
Gray  and  Mr.  Walter,  the  magistrate  and  judge  respectively 
of  Ahmadabad,  who  dealt  with  the  cases,  declared  their 
belief  that  Ranchhodlal  was  innocent  of  the  charge  of 
corruption  originally  brought  against  him  by  the  Political 
Agent.  For  reasons,  however,  which  it  would  be  tedious 
to  give  in  detail,  the  Bombay  Government,  after  the  most 
mature  and  scrupulous  consideration  of  all  the  facts  and 
evidence,  could  not  bring  themselves  to  alter  their  opinion, 
and  in  May,  1859,  issued  a  formal  order  declining  to  restore 
Ranchhodlal  to  the  public  service.  Mr.  Gray,  the  magistrate, 
who  still  believed  in  Ranchhodlal's  innocence,  made  a  final 
effort  to  persuade  the  Government  to  revise  their  order, 


but  only  succeeded  in  eliciting  at  the  end  of  August,  1859, 
a  re-statement  of  the  Government's  conviction  that  their 
final  order  was  justified. 

Thus  Ranchhodlal  passed  out  of  the  service  of  Govern- 
ment. The  proceedings  from  first  to  last  had  occupied 
five  years,  during  which  period  he  had  been  obliged  to  devote 
much  of  his  time  to  endeavouring  to  clear  himself  of  almost 
the  gravest  accusation  that  can  be  made  against  a  public 
servant.  The  bare  facts  have  been  recorded,  not  with  the 
object  of  re-opening  the  question  of  Ranchhodlal' s  guilt, 
which,  it  must  be  admitted,  received  the  most  patient  and 
ample  consideration  from  those  with  whom  the  final  decision 
lay,  but  rather  with  the  intention  of  throwing  into  stronger 
relief  the  well-deserved  success  which  he  attained  in  latei 
years  and  the  great  services  which  he  afterwards  rendered 
both  to  the  public  and  to  the  Government,  whose  salt  he 
had  once  eaten.  The  misfortune  which  befell  Ranchhodlal 
might  have  soured  and  broken  a  weaker  and  less  capable 
man.  Ranchhodlal  rose  superior  to  his  fate,  and  at  the 
close  of  a  long  career  in  the  service  of  his  countrymen  was 
able  to  inspire  the  British  officials  and  others  who  knew 
him  with  the  same  feelings  of  affection  and  respect  which 
he  had  aroused  in  those  under  whom  he  commenced  his 
official  career  in  Rewa  Kantha.  His  natural  fortitude 
and  mental  capacity  were  directed  into  fresh  channels,  and 
the  shadows  which  closed  around  this  period  of  his  life 
vanished  before  the  signal  achievements  of  his  later  years. 


Chapter  IV. 

Commercial    Enterprises. 

During  the  ten  years  of  his  career  as  a  Government 
servant,  from  1844  to  1854,  Ranchhodlal  had  from  time  to 
time  contemplated  the  possibility  of  revivifying  Indian 
industry  by  the  application  of  European  methods  and 
machinery  ;  and  with  the  help  of  his  friend,  Major  Fuljames, 
had  obtained  details  of  the  textile  industry  from  England. 
In  1850,  at  a  time  when  the  Bomba3^  Presidency  was  wholly 
destitute  of  cotton  spinning  and  weaving  plant,  Ranchhodlal 
made  his  first  attempt  to  found  the  textile  industry  of 
Ahmadabad.  A  prospectus  was  issued  ;  a  local  weekly, 
the  Ahmadabad  Samachar,  was  employed  to  give  publicity 
to  his  project ;  and  the  shroffs  and  bankers  of  the  town 
were  approached  with  a  view  to  the  provision  of  the  required 
capital.  But  the  merchants  of  Ahmadabad,  though  possessed 
of  ample  means  to  finance  several  mills,  were  conservative 
in  their  views  and  shrank  from  co-operating  with  Ranchhodlal 
in  so  novel  a  departure  from  their  time-honoured  lines  of 
business.  Ranchhodlal  thereupon  approached  the  mer- 
chants of  Baroda  and  other  places  and  met  with  a  more 
favourable  reception.  The  initial  expenditure  required  for 
the  erection  of  a  mill  was  estimated  at  about  two  lakhs  of 
rupees,  half  of  which  amount  was  to  be  provided  by  a 
certain  Mr.  Landon,  who  had  already  erected  a  ginning- 
factory  at  Broach  on  the  strength  of  information  supplied 
by  Ranchhodlal,  and  the  other  half  was  to  be  furnished  by 
Ranchhodlal  and  certain  other  promoters,  chief  among 
whom  were  the  leading  Baroda  bankers,  Gopal  Mehral  and 
Shamal  Bhecher,  Gaurishankar  Oza,  the  chief  minister  of 
the  Bhavnagar  State,  and  the  Raja  of  Rajpipla.  This 
project  however   never  materialised. 


Meanwhile  the  advantages  offered  by  the  establishment 
of  an  indigenous  cotton-spinning  and  weaving  industry  had 
attracted  notice  in  other  parts  of  the  Bombay  Presidency. 
In  1851,  a  well-known  merchant  of  Bombay,  Mr.  Kavasji 
Nanabhai  Davar,  projected  a  similar  scheme  to  that  of 
Ranchhodlal  and  eventually  opened  the  first  spinning  and 
weaving  mill  in  Bombay  in  1854.  Mr.  Landon,  to  whom 
reference  is  made  above,  built  a  spinning  mill  at  Broach 
about  the  same  date,  while  four  years  later,  in  1858,  Manekji 
Nasarvanji  Petit  opened  a  second  textile  mill  in  Bombay 
island.  The  example  of  these  pioneers  encouraged  Ranch- 
hodlal to  persevere  with  his  own  projects,  and  eventually 
in  1859  he  succeeded  in  establishing  the  first  mill  in 
Ahmadabad,  the  company  which  owned  it  being  known 
as  the  Ahmadabad  Spinning  and  Weaving  Company  Limited. 
The  capital  involved  amounted  in  the  first  instance  to  one 
lakh  of  rupees,  divided  into  twenty  shares  of  Rs.  5000  each, 
and  the  mill  contained  at  first  2,500  spindles  only  and  no 
looms.  Much  delay  occurred  between  the  foundation  of 
the  mill  in  1859  and  its  actual  opening  in  1861.  The  Suez 
Canal  bad  not  at  that  date  been  opened  and  all  vessels  from 
England  had  to  sail  to  India  via  the  Cape  ;  the  ship  which 
was  bringing  out  the  machinery  for  the  new  mill  caught 
fire  and  was  lost  at  sea.  The  machinery,  which  had  been 
ordered  in  England  through  the  late  Mr.  Dadabhai  Naoroji, 
was  however  fully  insured  and  with  the  sum  so  realised 
fresh  machinery  was  purchased.  In  the  meanwhile  the 
English  engineer,  Mr.  C.  Dall,  who  had  been  specially 
engaged  for  the  mill  and  had  reached  India  some  little 
time  previously,  died  before  the  arrival  of  the  new  plant. 
When  it  eventually  did  reach  India,  it  was  decided  to  land 
it  at  Cambay,  owing  to  the  complete  absence  of  railway 
communication  between  Bombay  and  Ahmadabad.  To 
Camba}^  therefore  Ranchhodlal  himself  proceeded  and 
there  spent  four  months  watching  the  machinery  being 
unloaded  and  packed  on  to  country  bullock-carts.  Further 
delay  occurred  after  the  machinery  had  been  delivered  in 


Ahmadabad.  Four  European  engineers  in  succession  were 
engaged  to  erect  it  in  the  mill,  but  all  of  them  proved  un- 
satisfactory and  had  to  be  dismissed  after  completing  a 
portion  only  of  the  task.  In  this  predicament  Ranchhodlal 
himself  set  to  work  to  erect  the  machinery  with  the  assistance 
of  a  Hindu  astrologer,  Sankleshwar  Joshi,  who  knew  some- 
thing of  applied  mechanics,  and  made  considerable  progress. 
He  was  eventually  relieved  of  further  anxiety  by  the.  arrival 
of  a  new  European  engineer,  Mr.  Edington,  who,  after 
completing  the  erection  of  the  engine,  boiler  and  other 
machinery,  served  for  two  years,  1861  to  1863,  and  put  the 
whole  mill  into  good  working  order. 

At  the  outset  the  mill  barely  paid  a  dividend  of  six  per 
cent,  and  Ranchhodlal  therefore  determined  to  increase 
the  original  capital  by  the  issue  of  new  shares  of  Rs.  1000 
apiece,  to  increase  the  number  of  spindles  from  2,500  to 
10,000,  and  to  establish  a  weaving  department  with  100 
looms.  On  the  departure  of  Mr.  Edington,  Ranchhodlal 
was  fortunate  in  obtaining  the  services  of  Mr.  Whittle,  who 
managed  the  mill  for  the  next  four  years,  added  fifty  new 
looms,  and  supervised  the  business  so  successfully  that 
the  shareholders  received  a  dividend  of  nine  per  cent,  and 
a  substantial  sum  was  annually  carried  over  to  the  reserve 
fund.  The  condition  of  this  reserve  fund  enabled  Ranch- 
hodlal to  erect  a  second  mill  in  1872,  containing  about  14,500 
spindles  and  800  looms.  This  mill  prospered  also  until 
1875,  when  a  disastrous  fire  destroyed  practically  the  entire 
building,  which  was  uninsured.  Nothing  daunted, 
Ranchhodlal  set  to  work  to  rebuild  it  at  his  own  expense, 
without  calling  for  further  assistance  from  the  shareholders  ; 
and  by  the  installation  of  machinery  of  a  new  and  improved 
type,  he  managed  within  a  comparatively  short  time  to  wipe 
off  the  losses  incurred  in  the  fire.  The  capital  of  the  mill 
was  raised  from  6-|  lakhs  to  nearly  10  lakhs  of  rupees,  each 
shareholder  receiving  scrip  worth  Rs.  500  for  every  thousand- 
rupee  share  originally  held  by  him. 

The  success  attending  these  two  ventures  enabled  Ranch- 


hodlal  to  establish  a  third  ginning,  spinning  and  weaving 
mill  in  the  name  of  his  son,  Madhavlal,  at  Sarangpur  in  1877. 
The  original  capital  was  3^  iakhs,  divided  into  350  shares  of 
1,000  rupees  each,  and  the  paid-up  calls  aggregated  2  lakhs 
and  80,000  rupees,  the  balance  being  made  up  from  savings 
carried  to  the  reserve  fund.  Half  of  the  capital  was  sub- 
scribed by  Ranchhodlal  himself  and  the  other  half  by  a  few 
of  his  personal  friends  who  subsequently,  as  the  annual 
profits  continued  to  rise,  sold  some  of  their  stock  in  the 
open  market.  In  1877,  1878,  and  1879,  the  number  of 
spindles  and  looms  was  largely  increased,  and  the  savings 
accruing  from  careful  management  enabled  Ranchhodlal 
to  pay  up  the  whole  of  the  unsubscribed  capital.  The 
shareholders  also  profited  by  the  issue  to  them  of  a  fresh 
certificate  equal  in  value  to  their  original  holdings.  The 
capital  of  the  mill  was  in  this  way  doubled,  and  not  long 
afterwards  was  trebled  as  a  result  of  the  steadily-increasing 
profits  of  its  working.  The  market  value  of  the  shares 
rose  to  more  than  six  times  their  face  value.  The  credit 
for  this  result  lies  chiefly  with  Ranchhodlal's  son,  Madhavlal, 
who  was  manager  of  the  mill  from  the  date  of  its  establish- 
ment ;  and  in  due  course  his  mantle  fell  upon  his  son, 
Chinubhai,  afterwards  known  as  Sir  Chinubhai  Madhavlal. 
Bart.,  who  inherited  the  business  instincts  and  capacity  of 

his  grandfather. 

The,  example  of  Ranchhodlal  and  his  son  was  not  lost 

upon    their    fellow-citizens,  many    of  whom  had    hitherto 

done  little  except  hoard  their  accumulated  riches.     In  1871 

the  late  Rao  Bahadur  Becherdas  Ambaidas,  C.S.I. ,  built  a 

mill ;    another,  named  after  Jamnabhai  Mansukhbhai,  was 

opened  in  1877  '>    other  new  mills  appeared  in  1881,  1882, 

1883,  and  1887.     The  industry  continued  to  expand,  so  that 

by  the  time  of  his  death  Ranchhodlal  witnessed  the  triumph 

of  his  labours  as  a  pioneer  and  a  vast  addition  to  the  wealth 

of  Ahmadabad.     A  statement  prepared  in  1916  shows  that 

in   that   year   there   were   sixty-two   mills  in  Ahmadabad, 

containing  about  990,000  spindles  and  21,000  looms,  besides 


a  match  factory,  hosiery  factories  and  oil  mills.  The  mere 
figures  of  machinery  however  do  not  represent  adequately 
the  value  of  the  enterprise  in  which  Ranchhodlal  led  the 
way.  The  introduction  of  the  textile  industry  generated 
a  larger  spirit  of  commercial  courage  in  the  merchants  of 
Ahmadabad  and  taught  them  the  value  of  European  business 
methods  ;  regular  employment  was  provided  for  thousands 
of  the  poorer  people  of  Gujarat,  who  would  otherwise  have 
suffered  more  or  less  acutely  during  periodic  seasons  of 
crop  failure  and  drought ;  the  value  of  landed  property 
rapidly  increased,  and  the  rise  in  wealth  and  importance 
of  the  old  city,  which,  during  the  sixteenth  and  seventeenth 
centuries,  had  been  one  of  the  most  splendid  places  in 
India,  soon  justified  its  being  ranked  as  the  second  city  of 
the  Western  Presidency.  Of  this  steady  industrial  expansion, 
Ranchhodlal,  once  the  pioneer,  became  in  turn  the  guiding 
genius.  He  presided  by  invitation  at  the  opening  cere- 
monies of  new  mills  ;  he  presided  by  universal  consent  at  the 
deliberations  of  the  local  millowners'  association  ;  he  was 
adviser-in-chief  to  all  those  who  sought  to  emulate  his 
success.  He  was  ever  on  the  look-out  for  chances  of  develop- 
ing the  natural  resources  of  his  country.  In  1882  he 
interested  himself  in  the  subject  of  iron-smelting,  obtained 
samples  of  iron  ore  and  submitted  them  for  analysis  to  an 
official  expert,  and  from  the  samples  had  a  few  tools  made 
for  use  in  the  smithy  of  his  Shahpur  mill.  Two  years  later, 
1884,  he  formed  a  company,  he  himself  being  one  of  the 
managing  agents,  to  develop  the  iron  and  coal  deposits  of 
the  Panch  Mahals  district.  The  scheme  however  was 
abandoned,  as  the  Bombay  Government  were  unwilling  to 
concede  the  mining  rights  in  the  district  on  the  terms  and 
conditions  laid  down  by  Ranchhodlal. 

Ranchhodlal  was  a  firm  believer  in  the  value  of  personal 
application  to  the  daily  routine  of  business  and  personal 
supervision  of  his  commercial  undertakings.  In  a  country 
where  the  desire  for  quick  profits  has  led  on  more  than  one 
occasion  to  insane  speculation  and  mercantile  fraud,  the 


conduct  of  Ranchhodlal's  business  offered  a  most  salutary- 
example  to  all  who  desired  to  participate  in  the  growth 
of  the  new  industry.  With  speculative  schemes  he  would 
have  nothing  whatever  to  do,  and  at  the  time  of  the  famous 
share  mania  in  Bombay,  which  resulted  from  the  civil  war 
in  America  and  the  consequent  failure  of  the  American 
cotton  supply,  he  turned  a  deaf  ear  to  more  than  one 
tempting  offer  from  the  promoters  of  the  well-known  Back 
Bay  Reclamation  scheme.  The  same  considerations  led 
him  to  limit  the  number  of  his  own  mills,  for  fear 
lest  the  efficiency  of  those  already  established  might  be 
impaired.  Up  to  the  time  of  his  death  he  visited  his  own 
mill  twice  a  day,  entered  every  department,  conversed  with 
the  workmen  and  issued  personal  orders  on  innumerable 
details,  and  even  at  the  age  of  seventy,  when  most  men  have 
relinquished  active  duty,  he  might  be  seen  standing  for 
hours  among  his  me«i,  discussing  points  connected  with 
the  output  or  administration  of  the  factory.  "  Every 
individual  employee,"  writes  his  Indian  biographer,  "  had 
ready  access  to  him,  and  he  would  listen  to  what  they  had 
to  say  with  wonderful  patience.  While  he  never  let  them 
know  he  was  their  master,  he  yet  had  the  knack  of  exacting 
from  them  work  to  their  utmost  capacity.  He  was  a  friend 
to  all.  He  never  lost  his  temper.  Never  at  rest,  he  was 
also  never  in  haste.  Invariably  guided  by  reason  and  not 
mere  sentiment,  he  conveyed  his  instructions  with  telling 
effect.  He  treated  all  impartially,  and  was  careful  not  to 
overlook  just  claims.  He  loved  all  his  men  and  they  all 
loved  him  in  return  ....  They  will  long  cherish  the 
memory  of  his  kind  treatment,  his  sound  advice,  and  his 
sympathetic  efforts  to  promote  their  welfare." 

Briefly,  the  story  of  the  introduction  into  Gujarat  of  the 
now  flourishing  cotton  spinning  and  weaving  industry  is 
the  tale  of  Ranchhodlal's  struggle  to  fashion  for  himself 
a  new  career.  Though  lacking  the  advantage  of  a  mer- 
cantile training,  and  without  influence  and  resources, 
Ranchhodlal's  force  of  character  enabled  him  to  surmount 


all  obstacles  and  to  divert  the  trade  of  Ahmadabad  into 
new  and  wider  channels.  The  material  reward  which 
crowned  his  diligence  and  perseverance  was  very  great ; 
his  personal  wealth  increased  pari  passu  with  the  industry 
which  he  founded  ;  he  was  known  far  and  wide  as  the 
Merchant-Prince  of  Gujarat.  He  realised  fully  the  truth 
of  the  saying  :  "  The  night  cometh  when  no  man  can  work," 
and  having  mastered  every  detail  of  his  business  he  worked 
without  remission  until  the  end.  The  commercial  promi- 
nence of  the  capital  city  of  Gujarat  at  the  present  day  is 
the  fruit  of  his  earnest  endeavour. 


Chapter  V. 

Local  Self- Government. 

Notwithstanding  his  strenuous  work  as  a  pioneer  of 
industry,  Ranchhodlal  found  time  during  the  last  thirty 
years  of  his  life  to  devote  constant  attention  to  municipal 
work  in  Ahmadabad.  The  city  came  into  the  possession  of 
the  British  Government  in  1818,  after  the  downfall  of  the 
Peshwa,  and  profited  not  a  little  by  the  abolition  of  certain 
vexatious  taxes,  known  as  town  duties,  which  had  been 
levied  upon  the  citizens  by  the  Gaekwar's  government.  Trade 
immediately  revived,  particularly  a  valuable  trade  in  opium 
and  Kashmir  shawls  which  passed  through  the  city  on  their 
way  to  the  coast-port  of  Gogha.  To  afford  additional 
protection  to  the  traders  of  the  city  it  was  determined  to 
repair  the  city  walls,  which  were  in  a  ruinous  condition, 
and  under  the  auspices  of  Mr.  Borrodaile  the  people  of 
Ahmadabad  collected  a  fund  known  as  "  The  City  Walls 
Restoration  Fund,"  which  was  administered  by  a  committee 
composed  of  the  Collector,  the  District  Judge  and  two  Indian 
members.  By  1832  the  city  walls  had  been  thoroughly 
repaired  from  the  proceeds  of  this  voluntary  cess,  and  the 
fund  still  had  a  considerable  balance  to  its  credit.  It  was 
decided  that  this  balance  should  constitute  the  nucleus  of 
a  general  fund  for  the  improvement  of  the  city.  The  public, 
realising  that  their  subscriptions  had  been  advantageously 
utilised,  were  willing  to  continue  to  subscribe  annually  to 
the  new  general  fund,  the  administration  of  which  was 
vested  in  a  regular  urban  committee  charged  with  the  duty 
of  supervising  and  improving  the  sanitation  of  Ahmadabad. 
The  city  thus  forestalled  to  some  extent  the  municipal 
arrangements  which  were  subsequently  extended  throughout 
the    Presidency,    excluding   the   city   of    Bombay,    by   the 


promulgation  of  Act  XXVI  of  1852,  and  indeed  continued 
its  own  system  of  urban  administration  for  rive  years  after 
that  Act  had  come  into  force.  On  the  14th  January,  1875, 
with  the  general  consent  of  the  inhabitants,  the  city  was 
brought  under  the  provisions  of  the  Act  of  1852,  and  twenty- 
four  years  later,  on  19th  November,  1874,  a  regular  municipal 
board  was  created  under  the  Bombay  Municipal  Act  VI 
of  1873.  A  further  step  forward  was  taken  when  Lord 
Ripon's  Government  conferred  the  right  of  local  self- 
government  upon  all  citv  municipalities  by  the  promulgation 
of  the  Bombay  District  Municipal  Amendment  Act  II  of 
1884.  The  Board  of  1874  was  re-constituted  on  the 
1st  January,  1885,  the  system  of  election  to  the  Board 
being  for  the  first  time  introduced.  Up  to  this  time  the 
Board  had  consisted  of  ten  ex-officio  members  and  twenty- 
two  non-officials,  or  thirty-two  in  all.  By  the  revised 
arrangements  of  1885,  this  number  was  reduced  to  thirty, 
of  whom  ten  were  to  be  ex-officio  members,  twelve  were  to 
be  non-officials  elected  by  the  people,  and  eight  were  to 
be  non-official  nominees  of  the  Bombay  Government.  It 
was  also  subsequently  decided  that  the  President  of  the 
Board,  who  hitherto  had  always  been  the  Collector  of 
Ahmadabad,  should  be  nominated  from  among  the  non- 
official  members,  and  in  consequence  of  this  innovation 
the  membership  of  the  Board  was  reduced  to  twenty-nine, 
including  the  President,  fourteen  being  elected  and  fifteen 
nominated  members.  About  1889  the  Board's  numbers 
were  again  increased  to  thirty,  of  whom  fourteen  members 
were  elected  by  the  ratepayers,  two  were  elected  by  the 
educated  and  professional  classes,  and  fourteen,  including 
the  President,  were  nominated  by  Government.  Finally, 
in  1894,  the  total  membership  of  the  Board,  or  General 
Committee,  was  increased  to  thirty-three  by  raising  the 
number  of  nominated  members  to  seventeen. 

Ranchhodlal  entered  upon  his  municipal  career  in  1868, 
when  he  accepted  a  seat  on  the  municipal  committee  as  a 
nominee   of   the    Bombay   Government.     From   that   date 


until  1883  he  served  continuously  as  a  member  of  the  Board 
and  laid  the  foundation  of  that  knowledge  of  urban  require- 
ments which  subsequently  enabled  him  to  play  so  prominent 
a  part  in  the  municipal  history  of  the  city.  He  found  time 
to  study  the  leading  works  on  sanitary  science  and  hygiene, 
and  made  himself  fully  acquainted  with  the  details  of  the 
municipal  machine  and  with  the  actual  conditions  of  life 
in  Ahmadabad.  The  opportunity  of  turning  his  study 
to  practical  account  occurred  in  1883  when  the  permanent 
chairman  of  the  municipality,  Mr.  J.  F.  Fernandez,  resigned 
and  the  Bombay  Government,  which  had  noted  Ranchhodlal's 
grasp  of  municipal  questions,  appointed  him  to  fill  the 

At  the  time  Ranchhodlal  became  chairman  of  the 
municipality,  Ahmadabad  had  an  unfortunate  reputation 
for  unhealthiness,  notwithstanding  that  it  possessed  a  dry, 
porous  soil  and  that  the  average  depth  of  its  subsoil  water 
was  more  than  twenty  feet  below  surface-level.  The 
mortality  rate  of  Ahmadabad  was  the  second  highest  in  the 
Bombay  Presidency,  and  during  the  five  years  prior  to  1883 
averaged  forty-nine  per  mille  ;  diseases  such  as  cholera, 
dysentery  and  ague,  appeared  every  year  in  more  or  less 
epidemic  form  and  caused  the  death  of  hundreds  of  the 
population,  whose  health  was  undermined  by  the  grossly 
insanitary  state  of  the  city.  Overcrowding,  the  want  of  a 
proper  drainage  system,  the  absence  of  a  pure  water-supply 
and  the  presence  within  the  residential  area  of  dangerous 
and  offensive  trades  were  among  the  causes  which  contributed 
to  swell  the  mortality  statistics,  and  of  these  the  two  which 
in  the  opinion  of  Ranchhodlal's  predecessor  most  urgently 
demanded  attention  were  the  system  of  sewage  disposal 
and  the  water-supply.  Ranchhodlal's  first  movement 
towards  grappling  with  these  problems  consisted  in  drafting 
in  December,  1883,  an(i  circulating  among  his  colleagues 
on  the  muncipal  committee  a  memorandum  of  instructions 
and  suggestions,  in  which  he  drew  pointed  attention  inter 
alia  to  the  pollution  of   the  city's  wells  by  percolation  from 


the  Khalkuvas  or  cesspools,  to  the  fact  that  in  some  parts 
of  the  city  even  this  primitive  system  of  cesspools  was 
wanting,  and  to  the  immediate  need  of  removing  the  night- 
soil  depots  to  the  south-east  of  the  urban  area  and  providing 
more  rapid  and  up-to-date  means  of  transit  to  the  depots 
for  the  filth  and  sewage  of  the  city.  He  suggested  also  that 
the  evil  effects  of  overcrowding  should  be  impressed  upon 
the  public  by  means  of  lectures  and  pamphlets,  that  the 
Municipality  should  formulate  a  programme  of  street 
improvement,  and  that  both  Government  and  the  Muni- 
cipality should  endeavour  to  check  the  further  overcrowding 
of  the  urban  area  by  refusing  to  sell  unoccupied  land  within 
its  limits  for  building  purposes.  He  drew  a  comparison 
between  the  death-rates  of  Ahmadabad  and  of  Bombay, 
Poona  and  Broach,  pointed  out  the  immense  benefits  which 
had  accrued  in  London  and  Bombay  by  the  practical  applica- 
tion of  the  rules  of  sanitar}r  science,  and  besought  his 
colleagues  to  set  their  faces  sternly  against  the  fatalism, 
so  prevalent  among  the  people  of  India,  which  checks  and 
discourages  human  efforts  to  ameliorate  the  material  con- 
ditions and  circumstances  of  life. 

Ranchhodlal's  memorandum,  so  far  as  the  official 
authorities  were  concerned,  met  with  well-deserved  praise. 
"  The  memorandum,"  wrote  the  Sanitary  Commissioner 
to  the  Bombay  Government  in  May,  1884,  "is,  I  think,  a 
remarkable  document  for  a  native  gentleman  to  have 
written,  as  it  exhibits  a  breadth  of  view  and  a  masterly 
appreciation  of  some  of  the  main  questions  that  affect  the 
public  health  in  that  city."  The  Army  Sanitary  Commission 
in  London,  to  whom  the  memorandum  had  been  submitted 
in  the  form  of  an  appendix  to  the  Sanitary  Commissioner's 
report,  described  it  as  "  a  very  remarkable  sanitary  report," 
as  "  a  model  report  of  its  kind,"  and  pointed  out  that  it 
threw  most  useful  additional  light  upon  the  causes  of  fever 
in  Indian  towns.  "  Mr.  Ranchhodlal,"  they  added,  "  has 
rendered  a  great  service  to  sanitary  improvement  by 
preparing  it." 


The  more  difficult  part  of  Ranchhodlal's  task  was  to 
persuade  his  colleagues  on  the  municipal  committee  of  the 
value  of  his  ideas  and  to  have  his  proposals  translated  into 
practice.  With  this  object  he  called  continual  meetings  of 
the  managing  committee  during  his  first  year  of  office, 
besides  special  and  quarterly  general  meetings  to  test  the 
general  sense  of  the  Board,  and  succeeded  in  obtaining 
sanction  for  certain  minor  improvements  in  the  method 
of  dealing  with  street-sweepings  and  garbage,  for  the  con- 
struction of  open  gutters  to  carry  off  storm  water,  and  for 
the  erection  of  improved  reservoirs  for  watering  cattle. 
He  also  carried  to  completion,  at  the  cost  of  about  Rs.  70,000, 
a  new  arterial  thoroughfare,  now  named  after  Sir  James 
Richey,  a  former  Collector  of  Ahmadabad,  for  the  con- 
struction of  which  sanction  had  been  obtained  by  Mr. 
Fernandez,  his  predecessor  in  office.  This  road  proved  not 
only  a  convenience  to  the  growing  traffic  of  the  city  but 
also  a  benefit  to  the  health  of  the  locality  through  which  it 
passed.  Yet  Ranchhodlal  had  not  yet  aroused  the  "  sanitary 
conscience  "  of  his  colleagues  ;  and  in  the  belief  that  the 
constant  repetition  of  his  theme  must  in  time  affect  their 
placid  conservatism,  he  devoted  a  considerable  portion  of 
the  annual  administration  report  of  the  Municipality  for 
the  year  1883-84  to  a  detailed  re-statement  of  the  urgent 
requirements  of  the  city.  He  showed  that  of  41,000  houses 
in  Ahmadabad,  8,800  were  furnished  with  the  primitive 
and  insanitary  cesspits,  known  locally  as  Khalkuvas,  and 
that  the  remainder  had  no  provision  whatever  for  the 
disposal  of  house-sewage,  which  was  usually  emptied 
directly  on  to  the  public  streets  and  lanes.  He  drew  atten- 
tion to  the  very  insanitary  condition  of  the  narrow  streets, 
known  locally  as  Pols,  which  occupied  a  considerable  portion 
of  the  inhabited  area.  The  main  thoroughfares  of  Ahma- 
dabad at  this  date  were  metalled  and  drained,  but  the  Pols, 
being  totally  devoid  of  even  surface  and  storm-water 
drainage,  were  in  a  sodden  and  putrifying  condition  and 
offered   a  fertile  soil  for  the  epidemics  of  cholera    which 


occurred  annually  after  the  outburst  of  the  monsoon.  On 
the  subject  of  the  removal  of  refuse  he  provided  figures  and 
estimates  showing  the  cost  of  laying  down  a  light  railway, 
supporting  them  with  a  report  from  the  Amritsar  muni- 
cipality in  the  Punjab,  which  had  already  adopted  this 
method  of  dealing  with  town  refuse.  To  these  primary 
needs,  including  specially  a  proper  water-supply,  he  added 
the  removal  from  the  city  of  dangerous  and  offensive  trades, 
the  widening  of  narrow  streets  and  roads,  the  building  of 
dials  (tenement  buildings)  for  the  poorer  classes,  the  regula- 
tion of  milch-cattle  stables,  and  the  erection  of  primary 
school  buildings.  For  the  establishment  of  a  drainage 
system,  waterworks,  and  a  sewage  farm,  Ranchhodlal 
estimated  a  probable  capital  outlay  of  about  15,00,000 
rupees  ;  and  on  the  assumption  that  the  Municipality 
could  obtain  a  loan  of  this  amount  at  five  per  cent,  repayable 
in  fifty  years  he  proposed  that  a  special  tax,  amounting  to 
about  twelve  annas  per  head,  should  be  levied  upon  the 
city.  The  imposition  of  such  a  tax,  he  argued,  would  cost 
the  people  less  in  the  end  than  they  would  have  to  pay  for 
the  provision  and  upkeep  of  properly  constructed  khalkuvas 
and  tankas  (reservoirs)  for  the  storage  of  drinking  water, 
such  as  were  then  maintained  in  the  more  favoured  parts  of 
the  city.  But  to  obviate  the  chance  of  even  so  small  a  cess 
pressing  hardly  upon  the  poorer  inhabitants  he  suggested 
that  the  Municipality  should  in  the  first  instance  make  a 
general  valuation  of  all  immovable  property  in  the  city, 
and  regulate  the  incidence  of  the  tax  on  the  basis  of  that 
valuation.  Moreover,  while  recognising  fully  the  duty  of 
the  citizens  to  provide  by  such  means  these  urgently  required 
improvements,  he  requested  Government  to  assist  their 
endeavours  by  advancing  the  necessar}*  loan  at  four  per  cent., 
by  conceding  to  the  Municipality  the  right  to  receive  the 
sale-proceeds  of  the  occupancy  rights  of  all  unoccupied  lands 
within  municipal  limits,  and  thirdly  by  paying  the  Muni- 
cipality compensation  for  the  loss  of  the  octroi  fees  on 
country  liquor  which  had  resulted  in  1881  from  the  require- 


merits  of  the   Government    liquor-monopoly  and  farming 

So  far  as  the  water-supply  of  Ahmadabad  is  concerned, 

it  must  not  be  supposed   that  in  formulating  his    schemes 

Ranchhodlal  was  breaking  wholly  new  ground.     The  old 

system  of  tanks  for  the  storage  of  rain-water  and  wells, 

coupled  with  an  additional  supply  pumped  from  the  river 

Sabarmati,  was  so  insanitary  and  anachronistic  that  more 

than  one  scheme  had  been  formulated  for  its  supersession. 

The  tanks  leaked  and  collected  all  sorts  of  impurities  ;    the 

wells,   surrounded  by  cesspools  and  rarely   cleaned,   were 

thoroughly  polluted  ;    while  the  river  water  was  rendered 

unpotable  and  dangerous  to  health  by  the  universal  practice 

of  washing  animals,  clothes  and  utensils  in  the  river,  by  the 

free  admission  to  it  of  sullage  water,  and  by  the  proximity 

of  a  night-soil  depot,  slaughter-houses,  dyeing  factories  and 

tanneries.     The  pumping  plant  itself,  erected  in  1847  from 

the  City  Walls  Restoration  Fund  during  the  Collectorship  of 

Mr.  Fawcett,  had  been  from  time  to  time  improved,  but  was 

nevertheless    inefficient  and  designed  on  lines  that  could 

scarcely  be  called  strictly  hy genie.     Schemes  for  a  new  water 

supply  had  been  prepared  by  an  engineer  named  Ferguson 

in  1874,  by  Mr.  Hatherly  in  1876,  by  Mr.  Borrodaile  in  1878, 

by  Mr.  Pottinger,  executive  engineer  for  irrigation  works 

in  Gujarat,  about  the  same  date,  by  Mr.  Playford  Reynolds 

in  1883,  and  by  Mr.  Doig  in  1884.     These  schemes  however 

were  "  merely  suggestions  backed  by  rough  estimates  based 

on  the  express  wishes  of  the  Collector  or  the  Municipality 

as  to  the  quantity  of  water  required  per  head  of  population 

and  the  pressure  at  which  the  supply  was  to  be  delivered." 

and     were    therefore    in    turn    abandoned.     In    1885    the 

Bombay  Government,  acting  upon  the  request  of  Ranch- 

podlal,  who  was  re-elected  Chairman  at  the  beginning  of 

that  year  and  became  President  in  the  following  September 

under  the  provisions  of  Act  II  of  1884,  agreed  to  lend  the 

services    of    Colonel    Walter   M.    Ducat,    R.E.,    Consulting 

Sanitary   Engineer,    to   the   Ahmadabad    Municipality   for 


one  month  for  the  purpose  of  preparing  plans  and  specifi- 
cations for  drainage  and  water- works. 

Up  to  this  point  Ranchhodlal's  policy  had  met  with  no 
serious  opposition.  No  sooner  however  had  Colonel 
Ducat's  plans  been  submitted  for  approval  to  the  municipal 
commissioners  than  considerable  hostility  was  manifested 
to  the  scheme  both  by  Ranchhodlal's  colleagues  in  the 
municipality  and  by  the  general  public.  It  was  widely 
held  that  the  proposals  framed  by  Colonel  Ducat  and 
supported  by  Ranchhodlal  were  impracticable  and  too 
costly,  that  they  were  ill  adapted  to  the  climatic  conditions 
of  Ahmad  abad,  would  entail  unduly  heavy  taxation,  and 
might  conceivably  impose  a  heavy  burden  of  debt  upon 
the  muncipality.  Mass  meetings,  at  which  Ranchhodlal's 
opponents  on  the  Board  presided,  were  held  daily  to  protest 
against  the  schemes,  and  the  native  Press  fanned  the 
opposition  with  unjustified  misrepresentation  and  frequently 
with  bitter  invective.  Ranchhodlal  himself  attended  several 
of  the  meetings  and  after  listening  patiently  to  criticism, 
which  was  not  always  free  from  personal  rancour,  sought 
by  calm  exposition  of  the  facts  to  explain  to  his  audience 
the  merits  of  the  proposals.  The  hostilities  culminated 
in  a  monster  meeting  held  at  the  Tanksal1  and  attended 
by  thousands  of  all  classes,  in  the  hope  of  intimidating  the 
President.  It  was  bruited  abroad  that  if  Ranchhodlal 
attended  and  declined  after  open  discussion  to  recede  from 
his  position,  personal  violence  might  perhaps  be  resorted 
to.  Ranchhodlal  was  no  coward.  He  attended  the 
meeting,  which  greeted  his  arrival  with  hisses  and  other 
signals  of  dissatisfaction,  and  endeavoured  by  patient  and 
reasoned  explanation  to  remove  misapprehension.  But 
the  crowd,  which  had  been  worked  up  by  methods  only  too 
common  in  India,  first  shouted  him  down  and  refused  him 
a  hearing,  and  then  proceeded  to  pelt  him  with  garbage  and 

1  Tanksal  in  Hindustani  means  "  a  Mint."     The  building  here  men- 
tioned is  probably  the  remains  of  the  Emperor  Jahangir's  Mint. 


stones.  A  party  of  mounted  police,  which  had  been  sent 
by  the  Collector  to  protect  him,  managed  to  escort  him 
without  injury  from  the  meeting  to  his  house. 

For  the  time  being,  therefore,  progress  in  the  direction 
advocated    by    Ranchhodlal    remained    in    abeyance.     His 
scheme,  though  rejected  by  the  managing  committee  under 
the  circumstances  outlined  above,  had  still  to  be  laid  before 
a  general  meeting  of  the  whole  municipality.     A  meeting 
was  called  on  22nd  June,  1886,  to  consider  Colonel  Ducat's 
report,    at    which    Ranchhodlal    himself,    after    explaining 
the  circumstances  in  which  the  Colonel's  services  had  been 
lent  by  the  Bombay  Government,  moved  that  the  report  on 
the  water-supply  be  approved  and  adopted.     The  proposal 
was    seconded    by   Major    Robb,    the    Civil   Surgeon.     An 
amendment  was  at  once  moved  by  a  member  of  the  oppo- 
sition to  the  effect  that  the  cost  of  Colonel  Ducat's  water- 
supply  scheme   was  excessive   and   that   a   further   report 
should  be  made  by  a  committee  of  nine  persons,  appointed 
ad  hoc,  on  the  desirability  of  improving  and  adding  to  the 
existing  pumping-service.     The  amendment  was  carried  by 
a  majority  of  three.     On  the  following  day  Ranchhodlal 
returned  to  the  charge  and  moved  that  Colonel  Ducat's 
drainage  scheme  be  approved  and  adopted,    being    again 
supported  by  Major  Robb.     This  proposal  shared  the  same 
fate  as  the  former.     Ranchhodlal  and  his  supporters  were 
outvoted  ;    ignorant  conservatism  for  the  time  being  won 
the  day.     Every  effort  was  made  by  Ranchhodlal  to  bring 
his  colleagues  to  a  sense  of  their  duties  ;    he  improvised  a 
water-supply    from  the  Sabarmati  for  his  own  mills  ;    he 
laid  down  small  drainage  works  and  a  small  model  sewage 
farm  in  the  wide  compound  surrounding  his  house  ;    he 
invited  his  colleagues  to  witness  the  working  of  this  plant 
and  tried  to  prove  to  them  by  ocular  demonstration  the  value 
of  the  rejected  proposals.     Persuasive  presentation  of  his 
plans  and  reasoned  argument  were  of  no  avail ;  his  opponents 
remained   obdurate,  and   found  moreover  unexpected  sup- 
port in  the  views  of  Sir  Theodore  Hope,  formerly  Collector 


of  Ahmadabad  and  at  this  date  a  member  of  the  Viceroy's 
Council,  who,  having  been  requested  to  give  his  views  on 
the  proposals,  wrote  a  long  minute  from  Simla  in  October, 
1886,  condemning  Colonel  Ducat's  schemes  in  the  strongest 
terms.  Sir  Theodore  Hope,  whose  views  were  widely- 
circulated  in  Ahmadabad  and  were  also  published  in  the 
Bombay  Gazette,  recommended  his  Ahmadabad  friends  to 
have  nothing  to  do  with  underground  drainage  and  to  con- 
centrate their  forces  instead  on  perfecting  the  removal  of 
sewage  by  hand  and  on  the  surface-removal  of  sullage. 

Sir  Theodore's  opinion,  though  unquestionably  wrong, 
was  a  powerful  weapon  in  the  hands  of  Ranchhodlal's 
adversaries,  and  for  the  time  being  rendered  active  prosecu- 
tion of  Colonel  Ducat's  plans  impossible.  Ranchhodlal 
however,  who  realised  that  this  distinguished  official  had 
been  misled  by  hasty  generalisations  from  the  entirely 
different  conditions  and  circumstances  of  other  parts  of 
India,  notably  of  Lahore  in  the  Panjab,  replied  to  Sir 
Theodore's  Hope's  report  in  an  elaborate  memorandum, 
defending  his  own  proposals  and  exposing  the  blunders  of 
Sir  Theodore  Hope  and  his  expert  adviser.  This  memoran- 
dum he  disseminated  among  his  colleagues  and  the  public 
of  Ahmadabad,  and  at  the  same  time  wrote  a  temperate  and 
practical  letter  to  Sir  Theodore  Hope,  pointing  out  the 
fallacies  of  his  arguments  and  the  costly  impracticability 
of  his  alternative  recommendations.  He  also  gave  a 
practical  demonstration  of  the  truth  of  one  of  Colonel 
Ducat's  chief  contentions  by  sinking  a  trial  well  in  the  river 
bed  at  Dudheshvar  and  demonstrating  that  double  the  daily 
quantity  of  water  required  by  the  city  could  be  easily  raised 
by  machinery  from  a  single  well  of  the  diameter  and  depth 
recommended  in  Colonel  Ducat's  scheme.  Nor  did  he 
forget  the  educative  influence  of  public  discussion  in  the 
Press  and  wrote  more  than  one  letter  combating  the  theories 
and  statements  of  his  opponents  and  justifying  the  detailed 
schemes  of  the  expert.  The  latter,  as  may  be  imagined, 
was  not  disposed  to   accept  Sir  Theodore  Hope's  rather 


pontifical  pronouncement  in  silence,  and  on  30th  November, 
1886,  submitted  to  the  Secretary  to  Government  in  the 
Public  Works  Department,  with  whom  rested  the  final 
verdict  as  to  the  adoption  or  rejection  of  his  scheme,  a 
lengthy  and  somewhat  caustic  refutation  of  the  views  of 
Sir  T.  Hope.  Matters  remained  in  an  impasse  however 
for  some  little  time  longer,  during  which  Sir  Theodore  Hope 
wrote  a  further  minute  to  Ranchhodlal,  Dr.  Thomas 
Blane}'  of  Bombay  was  invited  to  give  his  views  on  the 
drainage  problem,  and  Ranchhodlal  continued  his  endeavours 
to  educate  the  public  mind  and  disarm  opposition.  At 
length  on  2nd  February,  1887  the  report  of  the  sub- 
committee appointed  in  June  of  the  previous  year  to 
recommend  an  alternative  water-supply  scheme,  was 
presented  to  a  special  general  meeting  of  the  Municipality. 
This  sub-committee  accepted  Colonel  Ducat's  scheme  in 
extenso  with  minor  modifications,  but  recommended  that 
the  capital  outlay  on  the  scheme  should  not  exceed  five 
lakhs  of  rupees.  The  general  meeting  was  twice  adjourned 
owing  to  protracted  discussion  ;  but  at  length  on  3rd  March, 
after  a  two  hours'  discussion,  the  Municipality  passed  by 
sixteen  votes  to  ten  a  resolution  moved  by  Professor  Abaji 
Vishnu  Kathavate  and  seconded  by  Mr.  Hugh  Fraser,  that 
Colonel  Ducat's  water  supply  scheme,  as  modified  by  the 
sub-committee,  should  be  adopted  and  that  the  sub- 
committee's estimate  of  five  lakhs  should  be  raised  to  six 
lakhs  in  order  to  admit  of  the  provision  of  iron  distributing 
pipes  of  rather  larger  diameter. 

Thus  Ranchhodlal's  efforts  were  at  length  crowned 
with  success.  The  sanction  of  the  Bombay  Government 
was  quickly  obtained,  and  in  April,  1887,  Ranchhodlal 
obtained  the  permission  of  the  Municipality  to  raise  a 
loan  of  six  lakhs  of  rupees.  The  sanction  of  the  Government 
of  India  was  not  received  till  May,  1888,  and  the  actual 
works  were  commenced  in  March  of  the  following  year. 
The  intermediate  period  was  spent  by  Ranchhodlal  in 
superintending  the  construction  of  the  large  well  in  the 


river-bed  at  Dudheshvar,  which  formed  one  of  the  salient 
features  of  the  scheme,  and  in  subjecting  the  well 
to  a  series  of  tests,  which  proved  conclusively  to  the  satis- 
faction of  all  concerned,  including  Sir  T.  Hope  who  visited 
Ahmadabad  to  inspect  the  work,  that  a  constant  supply 
of  potable  water  was  now  assured.  Finally  on  nth  June, 
1891,  the  Governor  of  Bombay,  Lord  Harris,  opened  the 
completed  works,  which  comprised  a  pumping  plant  capable 
of  supplying  in  twelve  hours'  working  1,300,000  gallons 
of  water  and  51  miles  of  piping.  The  scheme,  which  cost 
according  to  the  final  estimate  a  little  more  than  *]\  lakhs 
of  rupees,  was  carried  out  under  the  supervision  of  Mr. 
Doig  and  his  assistant,  Mr.  Fardunji,  of  the  Public  Works 
Department;  Messrs.  Little  ,^G.  B.  Reid,  and  H.  E.  M/W"**^^ 
James,  who  successively  held  the  office  of  Collector  of  Jl^ 
Ahmadabad,  lent  official  support  to  the  undertaking  ;  and, 
finally,  the  Government  of  Lord  Reay,  who  preceded  Lord 
Harris,  assisted  the  Municipality  by  obtaining  for  it  a  loan  of 
three  lakhs  at  4-|  per  cent,  for  the  completion  of  the  work. 
The  scheme  has  abundantly  fulfilled  the  expectations 
of  those  who  advocated  its  introduction.  Since  its  com- 
pletion as  the  result  of  Ranchhodlal's  efforts,  a  second  high- 
level  reservoir  has  been  built  with  a  capacity  of  318,000 
gallons  ;  to  the  two  sets  of  engines  and  pumps  provided 
in  the  original  undertaking  a  third  set  was  added  in  1898, 
which,  like  the  former,  can  deliver  1,800  gallons  per  minute 
to  the  high-level  reservoir  ;  a  fourth  engine  has  now  been 
installed  at  a  cost  of  nearly  one  lakh,  and  the  question  of  a 
fifth  engine  is  also  under  expert  consideration.  The  water 
supply  is  constant,  notwithstanding  that  the  consumption 
per  head  has  reached  the  high  figure  of  twenty-six  gallons 
inside  the  walled  area  and  twenty-five  gallons  outside;  but  the 
increase  of  population  and  the  excessive  consumption  in 
the  northern  parts  of  the  city  have  necessitated  the  additional 
plant  mentioned  above  and  have  also  led  to  the  laying  of 
a  new  twenty-inch  main  for  the  supply  of  water  to  the 
suburbs  and  to  the  former  twenty-seven-inch  main    being 


reserved  purely  for  the  supply  of  the  city  proper.  The  city 
of  Ahmadabad  owes  a  debt  of  gratitude  to  Ranchhodlal  for 
his  persistent  advocacy  of  Colonel  Ducat's  proposals,  which 
cannot  be  measured  in  words,  and  the  most  ardent  of  his 
former  opponents  now  eulogize  his  prescience  and  per- 
severance for  the  public  weal. 

In  the  matter  of  the  drainage  of  the  city,  Ranchhodlal's 
policy  was  not  marked  by  the  same  degree  of  success.  The 
system,  which  Ranchhodlal  wisely  desired  to  supersede, 
consisted  of  the  removal  of  night-soil  by  hand  and  its 
subsequent  transport  to  two  very  offensive  depots  at 
the  Jamalpur  and  Shahpur  gates  of  the  city.  He  arranged 
in  1885  for  its  removal  by  tramway  to  a  spot  outside  the 
city  walls,  known  familiarly  as  Bagh  Firdaus,  "  The  Garden 
of  Paradise."  Local  opposition  to  the  scheme  of  under- 
ground drains,  which  he  favoured,  had  received  considerable 
support  from  the  published  opinion  of  Sir  Theodore  Hope 
already  mentioned  ;  and  Ranchhodlal  determined,  as  his 
first  move  in  the  struggle,  to  have  a  sub-committee  appointed 
with  ample  powers  to  investigate  the  subject  at  issue  and 
make  recommendations  to  the  municipal  board.  This 
sub-committee,  which  commenced  work  in  November,  1886, 
reported  without  delay  in  favour  of  the  removal  of  sullage 
water  by  pipes  as  a  temporary  measure  ;  and  at  a  meeting 
of  the  municipal  committee  in  the  following  month  Ranch- 
hodlal succeeded  in  gaining  approval  to  a  proposal  that  for 
the  area  within  the  city  walls  the  proposals  of  the  sub- 
committee should  be  tentatively  adopted,  and  that  in  the 
extra-mural  area  glazed  earthenware  pipes  should  be  used 
to  carry  the  sullage  to  a  distance  of  two  miles  to  the  south 
of  the  city.  The  financial  aspect  of  the  proposal  was  reserved 
for  further  discussion.  Opposition  however  was  still  so 
strong  that  the  Municipality  at  a  subsequent  meeting  in 
December  declined  to  sanction  the  proposals  and  declared 
definitely  in  favour  of  the  removal  of  sullage  by  hand. 
Their  decision  was  condemned  by  the  Commissioner,  N.D., 
and    by    the    Sanitary    Commissioner,    Deputy    Surgeon- 


General  T.  G.  Hewlett,  who  described  the  Municipality's 
scheme  as  a  mere  make-shift,  which  would  in  the  end 
cost  the  citizens  of  Ahmadabad  a  great  deal  more  than  a 
proper  arrangement  of  permanent  drains  ;  and  the  Bombay 
Government,  concurring  with  their  opinion,  refused  sanction 
to  the  Municipality's  proposals  and  instructed  the  officials 
concerned  to  use  their  influence  to  secure  the  substitution 
of  a  proper  drainage  system.  Then  followed  meetings 
to  discuss  the  views  of  Government,  the  Sanitary  Com- 
missioner himself  being  present  as  a  visitor  at  one  of  the 
meetings  to  explain  the  details  and  principles  of  under- 
ground drainage,  and  to  endeavour  to  allay  the  mistrust 
of  the  majority.  His  efforts  were  fruitless  ;  for  on  8th  Feb- 
ruary, 1888,  the  Municipality  definitely  rejected  Ranch- 
hodlal's  tentative  scheme  for  a  two-mile  drain  from  the 
Maunda  gate  to  a  model  sewage  farm  and  declared  again 
for  the  hand-service  system.  On  this  occasion  Ranchhodlal's 
usual  tenacity  of  purpose  seems  temporarily  to  have  deserted 
him,  for  instead  of  continuing  the  struggle  with  his  recalcitrant 
colleagues,  he  appears  to  have  forwarded  their  resolution 
with  a  recommendation  that  the  Municipality  should  be 
allowed  to  make  trial  of  the  imperfect  and  costly  system 
of  hand-removal.  The  Commissioner  N.D.  and  the  Bombay 
Government  however  declined  flatly  to  countenance  so 
futile  a  scheme,  and  matters  remained  in  statu  quo  until 
14th  May,  1888,  when  doubtless  with  the  double  object  of 
*'  saving  their  faces  "  and  avoiding  a  direct  challenge  to 
Government,  the  Municipality  resolved  to  instal  underground 
drainage  in  one  part  of  the  city  as  an  experimental  measure 
and  sanctioned  a  sum  of  one  and  a  half  lakhs  of  rupees  for 
the  purpose.  Plans  and  estimates  for  the  work  were  pre- 
pared by  Mr.  Baldwin  Latham,  the  well-known  sanitary 
engineer,  and  the  work  was  practically  completed  by  the 
close  of  1893.  Additional  funds  were  voted  by  the  Muni- 
cipality for  house-connections  with  the  main  drains,  and 
these  were  steadily  augmented  as  the  value  of  the  system 
impressed  itself  upon  the  public  mind.     It  is  noteworthy 


that  the  scheme  was  initiated  in  the  very  parts  of  the  city 
which  had  offered  the  strongest  opposition  to  it  from  the 
beginning ;  yet  no  sooner  was  its  satisfactory  working 
manifested  than  the  inhabitants  of  those  parts  were  urgent 
in  their  demands  for  house-connections  and  for  the  further 
extension  of  the  scheme.  By  1897  there  was  a  general 
demand  for  the  extension  of  the  drainage  scheme  to  other 
parts  of  the  city,  and  under  the  auspices  and  direction 
of  Ranchhodlal,  plans  and  estimates  involving  an  expenditure 
of  eight  lakhs  of  rupees  were  prepared  and  submitted  for 
sanction  to  the  Bombay  Government.  The  approval  of 
Government,  coupled  with  their  sanction  to  raising  the 
requisite  loan,  was  received  by  the  Municipality  after 
Ranchhodlal's  death  in  1898.  For  all  practical  purposes, 
however,  the  scheme  which  Ranchhodlal  had  first  advocated 
in  1883  was  on  the  high  road  to  completion  before  his  death, 
and,  though  on  one  occasion  his  determination  seems  to 
have  faltered,  it  is  chiefly  to  his  work  and  to  the  support 
which  he  received  from  Government  and  its  officials  that 
Ahmadabad  has  been  saved  in  great  measure  from  the 
epidemics  of  cholera  and  similar  diseases  which  annually 
took  a  heavy  toll  of  the  city  in  former  days. 

At  the  present  time  the  underground  drainage  s}'stem, 
which  has  proved  entirely  successful,  has  been  introduced 
into  the  south-eastern  and  south  central  portion  of  the 
intra-mural  area.  The  sewage  flows  by  gravitation  to 
Jamalpur,  whence  it  is  pumped  out  to  a  thriving  and 
well-conducted  sewage-farm.  Plans  for  an  extension  of 
the  system  to  the  whole  of  the  walled  area,  which  is  estimated 
to  cost  eleven  lakhs  of  rupees,  have  been  prepared  by  Mr. 
Baldwin  Latham,  and  a  new  pumping-engine,  costing 
nearly  a  lakh  of  rupees,  was  ordered  during  1916.  Now 
that  the  war  no  longer  places  an  embargo  upon  the  raising 
of  loans  by  local  bodies,  the  Municipality  may  be  confidently 
expected  to  complete  the  work  initiated  by  their  former 
President  and  his  English  advisers.  The  amount  spent 
upon  the  scheme  up  to  1917  reached  the  considerable  sum 


of  nearly  15^  lakhs,  to  which  will  before  long  be  added  a 
further  sum  of  eleven  lakhs  devoted  to  auxiliary  works 
of  prime  necessity.  The  underground  drainage  system  of 
Ahmadabad  at  the  outset  was  wisely  confined  to  sullage 
only  and  not  adapted,  as  in  Bombay,  to  the  removal,  of 
both  sullage  and  storm- water.  It  is  now  generally  admitted 
that,  where  monsoon  conditions  prevail,  it  is  neither  advisable 
nor  practicable  to  attempt  to  deal  with  both  sullage  and 
storm- water  in  one  system.  That  Ranchhodlal  should  have 
succeeded  in  introducing  the  underground  system  at  all 
is  alone  sufficient  to  keep  his  memory  green  in  Ahmadabad. 
There  are  some  who,  with  experience  of  the  present  condition 
of  the  city's  streets  during  the  months  of  the  monsoon, 
are  apt  to  deplore  the  fact  that  a  scheme  for  the  surface 
drainage  of  the  city  was  not  prepared  with  the  drainage 
scheme.  But  one  must  bear  in  mind  the  extraordinary 
opposition  which  Ranchhodlal  encountered  in  respect  both 
of  the  water-supply  and  drainage  schemes  and,  rather 
than  cavil  at  omissions  which  the  experience  of  a  later 
generation  rightly  considers  important,  pay  a  tribute  of 
admiration  to  the  man  who  secured  the  two  prime  needs 
of  modern  urban  life  in  the  face  of  the  superstitious  ignorance 
and  blind  hostility  of  the  general  public.  Had  Ranchhodlal 
lived  longer,  with  his  great  faculty  for  work  unimpaired, 
he  would  assuredly  have  turned  his  attention  to  the  problem 
of  surface  drainage  and  have  dealt  with  it  as  successfully 
as  he  dealt  with  the  two  major  problems  of  his  municipal 
career.  There  are  people  still  living  who  can  remember 
seeing  him  perambulating  the  city  with  Baldwin  I,atham, 
and  calmly  considering  the  details  of  his  scheme  amid  the 
overt  hostility  and  abuse  of  most  of  the  traders  and  vakils. 
Few  Indians  would  have  had  the  moral  courage  in  such 
circumstances  to  persist  with  their  plans.  But  Ranchhodlal, 
physically  and  morally,  was  a  man  of  stout  heart  ;  he  held 
on  his  course  undeterred  by  threats  and  fear  of  unpopularity. 
His  achievement  is  to-day  a  source  of  pride  to  the  citizens 
of  Ahmadabad. 


One  of  the  salient  features  of  Ranchhodlal's  municipal 
administration  was  his  constant  personal  supervision  of  the 
large  works  which  he  induced  the  Municipality  to  establish. 
Every  morning  he  visited  the  works  while  they  were  in 
progress,  suggesting  alterations  here  and  additions  there, 
and,  though  possessed  of  no  professional  training  as  an 
engineer,  was  able  to  discuss  the  technical  details  of  the 
construction  with  the  experts  and  even  to  make  suggestions, 
free  from  professional  and  departmental  bias,  which  they 
were  on  occasions  only  too  willing  to  accept.  The  manage- 
ment of  his  own  business  and  constant  attendance  at  public 
and  private  meetings  were  never  permitted  to  interfere 
with  his  municipal  duties  ;  in  addition  to  his  outdoor  work 
in  the  mornings  he  worked  at  the  municipal  office  for  three 
hours  every  day  and  except  on  very  rare  occasions  always 
attended  municipal  meetings.  In  this  wa}r  he  was  respon- 
sible for  introducing  several  reforms  in  the  general  urban 
administration.  Public  dispensaries,  schools  and  institutes 
benefited  from  his  constant  supervision  ;  technical  scholar- 
ships were  granted  to  deserving  students  of  the  Victoria 
Jubilee  Technical  Institute  ;  an  institution  for  home  medical 
relief  was  founded  ;  he  induced  the  Bombay  Government 
to  pay  a  sum  of  Rs.  83,000  to  which  the  Ahmadabad  Muni- 
cipality had  long  made  claim  and  to  sanction  the  participa- 
tion of  the  Municipality  in  the  proceeds  of  the  sale  of 
occupancy  rights  in  vacant  lands  within  the  city.  Tracts 
of  land  which  for  years  had  been  the  breeding-grounds  -of 
cholera  and  malaria  were  during  his  administration  re- 
claimed and  converted  into  building  sites  ;  and  when  the  first 
cases  of  bubonic  plague  occurred  in  the  city,  the  measures  for 
disinfection  and  prevention  which  were  immediately  carried 
out  under  his  orders  checked  the  spread  of  the  disease  and 
obviated  the  necessity  for  the  stringent  and  harassing  pre- 
cautions which  caused  so  much  annoyance  and  such  heavy 
expenditure  in  other  parts  of  the  Bombay  Presidency. 
His  interest  in  municipal  affairs  never  flagged  ;  even  during 
a  visit  to  Mahableshwar  for  the  sake  of  his  health  he  con- 


tinued  his  work,  and  he  was  busy  with  municipal  matters 
till  within  a  few  hours  of  his  death. 

Ranchhodlal  was  a  keen  and  accurate  observer,  a  logical 
reasoner  and  a  man  of  equable  temper.  Once  convinced 
of  the  truth  of  a  particular  opinion,  he  was  ready  to  support 
it  patiently  against  all  criticism  without  resort  to  anger, 
intrigue  or  retaliation,  in  the  conviction  that  its  truth  must 
ultimately  be  made  manifest.  Avoiding  any  display  of 
passion,  he  was  ever  ready  in  his  public  speeches  and  official 
reports  to  say  a  good  word  for  his  opponents  and  faithfully 
to  represent  their  views,  even  though  he  himself  might 
differ  from  them.  In  the  height  of  controversy  he 
was  careful  to  avoid  hurting  the  feelings  of  those  who 
declined  to  accept  his  opinions  and  policy,  and  the  respect 
which  he  invariably  showed  to  all  did  much  to  assuage 
the  bitterness  of  the  conflict.  His  singleness  of  purpose, 
his  capacity,  his  diplomatic  handling  of  municipal  questions, 
impressed  all  those  with  whom  he  came  in  contact.  Suc- 
cessive Collectors  of  Ahmadabad,  Mr.  H.  E.  M.  (now  Sir 
Evan)  James,  Mr.  G.  B.  Reid,  Mr.  C.  E.  Frost,  Mr.  M.  C. 
Gibb,  and  Mr.  P.  J.  Mead,  from  time  to  time  recorded  their 
sense  of  his  devotion  to  the  interests  of  the  city  and 
emphasized  the  value  of  his  ripe  experience  and  wisdom. 
Mens  aqua  in  arduis  might  well  have  been  chosen  as  his 
motto,  for  the  temporary  failure  of  his  plans  and  the  open 
hostility  of  the  market-place  were  alike  powerless  to  shake 
his  courage  and  constancy. 


Chapter  VI. 


Ranchhodlal's  achievements  in  the  commercial  and 
municipal  spheres  having  been  described,  it  becomes  neces- 
sary to  glance  at  his  activities  in  the  domain  of  politics, 
including  therein  both  his  work  as  a  member  of  the  Pro- 
vincial Legislative  Council  and  his  policy  as  a  member  or 
supporter  of  the  Indian  National  Congress.  The  Indian 
Councils  Act  of  1892,  which  was  initiated  b}^  discussions 
during  the  Vicero}^alty  of  Lord  Dufferin,  provided  for  the 
appointment  by  nomination  or  otherwise  of  additional 
members  to  the  various  provincial  councils,  thus  opening 
the  way  for  the  closer  association  of  leading  Indians  with  the 
legislative  activities  of  the  provincial  governments  and 
leading  direct^  to  the  famous  Morley-Minto  reforms  of 
1909.  Ranchhodlal's  merits  were  so  conspicuous  that  the 
Bombay  Government  felt  no  hesitation  in  appointing  him 
an  additional  member  of  the  Legislative  Council  in  1892, 
and  in  re-appointing  him  twice  in  succession  on  the  expiry 
of  the  statutory  period  of  membership.  His  tenure  of  office 
thus  lasted  for  six  years,  during  which  period  he  displayed 
in  regard  to  public  affairs  the  same  moderation  and  the 
same  reasoned  judgment  which  had  characterized  his 
handling  of  municipal  problems.  Though  fully  in  sympathy 
with  the  aspirations  of  his  own  countrymen,  Ranchhodlal 
was  nevertheless  unfavourably  disposed  towards  Western 
methods  of  public  agitation.  He  believed  in  the  theoretical 
fitness  of  liberal  principles,  but  considered  that  the  wholesale 
application  of  them  to  the  problems  of  India,  as  she  was  in 
his  day,  might  conceivably  end  in  disaster,  and  that  towards 
established  authority  a  policy  of  conciliatory  argument 
was  to  be  preferred  to  that  of  blind  opposition  and  resistance. 

The  first  piece  of  legislation  to  arouse  his  interest  was  the 

politics.  45 

Mahuda1  Bill,  which  was  designed  to  check  the  drinking 
habit  among  the  people  of  Thana  district  and  of  some  parts 
of  the  Kolaba  district.  The  Bill  excited  considerable 
controversy  throughout  the  Presidency  and  was  opposed 
by  bodies  like  the  Bombay  Presidency  Association  and  the 
Poona  Sarvajanik  Sabha,  by  many  piominent  members 
of  native  society,  and  b}'  the  vernacular  Press.  Their  chief 
argument  seems  to  have  been  that  the  restrictions  embodied 
in  the  Bill  constituted  a  serious  infringement  of  the  liberty 
of  the  people  and  that  to  their  way  of  thinking  "  Thana  free  " 
was  better  than  "  Thana  sober."  Ranchbodlal,  himself 
a  strict  teetotaller  and  enemy  of  intemperance,  considered 
that  these  arguments  were  fraught  with  danger  to  the  health 
and  happiness  of  the  people  immediately  concerned  and 
might  react  unfavourably  on  the  general  morality,  and  in 
his  capacity  of  President  of  the  Temperance  Association 
of  Ahmadabad  he  contributed  to  the  Times  of  India  and  the 
Bombay  Gazette  between  June  and  October,  1892,  a  series 
of  articles  refuting  the  arguments  of  the  opponents  of  the 
Bill  and  justifying  the  need  for  it  by  a  careful  array  of 
facts  and  statistics.  The  Bill  was  subsequently  passed  into 
law.  Ranchhodlal  drew  public  attention  to  the  question 
of  temperance  on  other  occasions  also.  At  a  Legislative 
Council  Meeting  held  in  August,  1894,  while  commenting  in 
his  speech  on  the  Budget  upon  the  increase  in  the  Abkari 
revenue,  he  expressed  regret  that  this  should  have  been 
occasioned,  as  he  believed  it  to  have  been,  by  a  decided 
increase  in  the  consumption  of  spirituous  liquor  and  begged 
the  Council  to  devise  some  measure  whereby  the  people 
might  be  protected  from  the  vice  of  drinking.  In  the 
following  year  he  strongly  urged  Government  to  alter  the 
system  of  farming  the  Abkari  revenue,  as  it  then  existed 
in  the  districts  outside  Bombay,  advocating  the  introduction 
of  the  system  followed  in  the  latter  city  and  the  enhancement 
of  the  rate  of  duty  in  all  large  towns.  Government,  however, 
for   very  good  reasons  preferred  to  adhere  to  the  arrange- 

1  See  page  70  (Index)  for  meaning. 


ments  whereby  the  public  exchequer  annually  receives  not 
less  than  a  certain  fixed  sum  on  account  of  still-head  duty 
on  liquor  issued  from  a  central  distillery,  and  the  liquor 
farmer  has  a  direct  interest  both  in  the  suppression  of  illicit 
distillation  and  in  the  supply  to  the  public  of  the  quantity 
of  liquor  required  for  normal  consumption. 

Municipal  finance  was  another  subject  to  which  Ranch- 
hodlal  drew  attention  in  debate.  He  deprecated  the  practice 
followed  by  the  Bombay  Government  of  obtaining  advances 
from  the  Government  of  India  at  four  per  cent,  and  charging 
municipalities  four  and-a-half  per  cent.,  on  the  ground  that 
the  additional  half  per  cent,  was  needed  to  cover  all  risks. 
"  This  procedure,"  he  said,  "  may  have  been  right  when  the 
Government  of  India  were  paying  interest  at  four  per  cent, 
on  Government  paper.  But  as  now  Government  happily 
are  able  to  command  any  amount  of  money  at  three  and-a- 
half  per  cent.,  it  is  but  fair  that  they  should  charge  the  local 
government  at  that  rate,  in  order  to  enable  the  latter  to 
charge  the  same  rate  or  not  more  than  four  per  cent,  to 
local  bodies."  If  this  course  was  impossible,  he  urged  that 
municipalities  should  be  empowered  to  repay  their  loans 
from  Government  by  borrowing  in  the  open  market. 

In  the  course  of  the  same  speech,  delivered  in  1895, 
he  referred  at  some  length  to  the  vexed  question  of  the 
closing  of  the  mints  to  the  free  coinage  of  silver.  Ranch- 
hodlal's  views,  which  he  also  ventilated  in  a  series  of  letters 
and  memorials,  were  opposed  to  the  re-opening  of  the  mints 
to  free  coinage,  by  reason  of  the  great  fall  in  the  value 
of  the  rupee  and  the  reduction  in  the  rate  of  the  English 
exchange  which  must  have  followed  a  reversal  of  the  policy 
adopted  by  the  Government  of  India  in  1893.  On  the 
other  hand,  he  saw  no  reason  why  the  Government  should 
not  make  an  appreciable  profit  by  coining  rupees  for  their 
own  use,  and  referring  to  the  current  ratio  of  silver  to  rupees 
and  to  the  fact  that  a  balance  of  twenty-five  crores  of  rupees 
was  at  that  time  lying  idle  in  the  Government  treasuries, 
he  calculated  that  on  the  basis  of  one-twelfth  of  allov  in  the 

politics.  47 

rupee  Government  would  realize  the  handsome  profit  of  one 
crore  and  fifty-nine  lakhs,  if  they  were  to  invest  only  six 
crores  of  their  balances  in  the  purchase  of  silver  and  coin 
it  into  rupees  in  their  own  mints.  These  and  other  argu- 
ments in  favour  of  re-opening  the  mints  to  their  own  coinage 
Ranchhodlal  pressed  not  only  upon  the  Government  of 
India,  but  also  upon  the  Viceroy,  Lord  Elgin,  to  whom  he 
submitted  a  special  memorandum  embodying  his  views, 
His  arguments  did  not  impress  the  Government  of  India 
and  the  Home  authorities,  who  subsequently  decided 
upon  the  establishment  of  a  gold  standard  for  India 
in  order  to  maintain  the  enhanced  rate  of  exchange  which 
followed  the  closing  of  the  mints.  The  subject  is  now  of 
little  more  than  academic  interest,  particularly  to  those 
who  have  watched  the  rupee  exchange  rate  rise  to  2s.  8d., 
but  it  has  been  mentioned  as  being  one  of  the  matters  which 
absorbed  Ranchhodlal's  attention  during  his  later  years. 

As  one  of  the  pioneers  of  the  cotton  industry  of  Western 
India,  Ranchhodlal  naturally  held  strong  views  about  the 
countervailing  duty  on  cotton  goods  manufactured  in 
Indian  mills,  which  was  imposed  in  1896  at  the  instance  of 
the  millowners  of  Lancashire.  His  views,  which  he  pub- 
lished in  the  Bombay  press  and  embodied  in  a  memorial 
to  the  Government  of  India  in  January,  1896,  were  briefly 
to  the  effect  that  as  the  cloth  woven  in  Indian  mills  was 
coarse  and  suited  only  to  the  poorer  classes,  the  proposed 
excise  duty  would  be  an  unjustifiable  burden  upon  the 
latter  ;  that  the  imposition  of  the  tax  would  be  certain  to 
create  an  impression  that  the  Government  of  India  desired 
to  discourage  the  Indian  mill  industry  in  the  interests  of 
Lancashire  ;  that  it  would  discourage  the  introduction  of 
labour-saving  machinery ;  that  if  the  Native  States,  as 
seemed  inevitable,  were  forced  to  follow  the  lead  of  the 
Government  of  India,  the  constant  advice  tendered  by  the 
latter  to  the  various  Durbars  to  abolish  taxes  on  local 
manufactures  would  be  stultified  ;  and  that  it  was  obviously 
unnecessary  and  unfair  to  levy  a  countervailing  duty  on 


coarse  cloth  of  a  kind  which  could  be  proved  never  to  have 
been  imported  from  Lancashire.  Whatever  sympathy  the 
Government  of  India  may  have  had  with  these  views,  they 
were  naturally  obliged  to  bow  to  the  decision  of  the  authorities 
in  England,  and  the  Bill  providing  for  the  levy  of  the  counter- 
vailing excise  duty  was  accordingly  passed,  literally  in 
obedience  to  the  demand  of  the  Lancashire  electorate. 
Ranchhodlal's  second  objection,  as  noted  above,  was  a 
very  accurate  forecast  of  Indian  feeling  on  the  subject, 
for  the  maintenance  till  quite  a  recent  date  of  the  duty  on 
locally  manufactured  goods  was  widely  accepted  as  con- 
clusive proof  that  the  authorities  were  positively  encouraging 
India's  industrial  backwardness  in  the  interests  of  British 
manufactures.  The  grievance  of  the  Indian  millowner  has 
been  finally  laid  to  rest  during  Mr.  Austen  Chamberlain's 
tenure  of  office  as  Secretary  of  State  on  grounds  which 
recall  the  protest  of  Ranchhodlal  twenty  years  ago. 

Ranchhodlal  was  likewise  opposed  to  some  of  the  recom- 
mendations of  the  Indian  Factory  Commission  appointed 
in  1884-85  to  consider  the  amendment  of  the  Factories 
Act.  Like  other  leading  millowners,  he  was  invited  to  give 
his  opinion  on  the  proposal  to  restrict  the  number  of  working 
days  for  women  employed  in  factories,  and  declared  himself 
opposed  to  any  measure,  such  as  this,  which  would  operate 
to  restrict  the  operatives'  opportunity  of  wage-earning. 
His  arguments  on  this  subject  were  on  the  whole  less 
convincing  and  less  acceptable  than  the  practical  suggestions 
which  he  made  on  another  occasion  for  the  detection  and 
prevention  of  cotton-adulteration.  On  this  subject  he  was 
an  acknowledged  expert  and  tendered  valuable  advice  to 

Ranchhodlal's  sympathy  with  the  aspirations  of  his 
countrymen  and  his  position  in  the  commercial  world  led 
naturally  to  his  participating  in  the  deliberations  of  the 
Indian  National  Congress.  He  had  been  elected  a  delegate 
on  the  occasion  of  the  first  session  of  the  Congress  in  Bombay, 
and  in  1893,  when  the  sixth  Provincial  Conference  met  at 

politics.  49 

Ahmadabad,  Ranchhodlal  accepted  the  post  of  Chairman 
of  the  Reception  Committee.  During  the  deliberations 
he  was  personally  responsible  for  resolutions  advocating  the 
modification  of  the  rules  regarding  the  levy  of  fines  for  the 
use  of  land  for  non-agricultural  purposes,  and  demanding 
a  system  of  local  option  in  regard  to  the  opening  of  liquor 
shops  in  urban  areas.  His  general  attitude  towards  Govern- 
ment, forming,  as  it  does,  a  striking  contrast  with  that  of 
some  of  the  more  vociferous  politicians  of  a  later  day,  is  best 
shown  in  the  following  extract  from  his  speech  as  Chairman 
of  the  Reception  Committee  : — 

"It  is  a  matter  of  regret  that  the  misunderstanding 
"  should  exist  in  some  quarters  that  the  persons  who 
"  take  part  in  these  conferences  are  discontented  with 
"  the  present  administration  of  the  country.  If  such 
"  were  the  fact,  I  for  one  would  have  hesitated  to  take 
"  any  part  in  such  an  assemblage  ;  but  I  fully  believe 
"  that  the  educated  people  of  the  country  think  it  their 
"  duty  to  try  their  best  to  promote  the  true  happiness 
"  of  their  fellow-countrymen  by  all  constitutional 
"  means,  and  are  actuated  with  the  best  and  most  loyal 
"  motives  to  sacrifice  their  time  and  money  for  the 
"  public  good.  No  honest  person  can  for  a  moment 
"  doubt  that  the  people  of  this  country  are  in  a  variety 
"  of  ways  very  greatly  benefited  by  the  present  adminis- 
"  tration  of  the  country,  and  they  must  therefore  be 
"  most  grateful  to  the  present  Government.  Still, 
"  however  well  meaning  a  Government  may  be,  there 
"  must  always  be  some  points  in  their  administration 
"  in  connection  with  which  improvements  ma}^  be 
"  necessary,  and  it  is  therefore  desirable  that  intelligent 
*'  and  experienced  persons  in  the  country  should  try  and 
"  represent  their  views  to  Government  regarding  these 
"  improvements  in  a  loyal  and  respectful  manner. 
"  There  is  no  reason  to  suppose  that  any  responsible 
"  officer  of  Government  would  be  unwilling  or  slow 
"  to  receive  such  representations." 


These  pacific  words,  with  their  underlying  determination 
to  give  credit  where  it  is  due,  would  scarcely  commend 
themselves  to  some  modern  Congressmen  by  whom  constant 
misrepresentation  and  abuse  of  the  Government  and  its 
officials  are  apparently  regarded  as  the  high-water  mark  of 
political  sagacity. 

On  the  subject  of  foreign  trade,  Ranchhodlal  was  an 
advocate  of  protection  against  all  countries  that  did  not 
follow  the  doctrine  of  Free  Trade.  America,  France, 
Germany,  Canada,  Australia,  and  some  other  British  colonies 
all  imposed  a  heavy  and  sometimes  almost  prohibitive  duty 
on  foreign  goods  with  a  view  to  the  protection  of  their  -own 
industries.  Was  it  just,  he  argued,  that  India  should  be 
made  to  grant  free  importation  from  such  countries,  at  least 
so  far  as  manufactured  articles  other  than  raw  material, 
machinery  and  articles  of  food  were  concerned  ?  England 
extended  the  indulgence  of  free  imports  to  India,  and  it  was 
therefore  only  just  that  her  goods  should  be  imported 
duty-free  into  India  ;  but  why  should  not  India  protect 
her  paper-industry  at  Poona  by  imposing  a  dut}^  on  German 
paper  in  view  of  the  fact  that  German}^  imposed  a  heavy 
duty  on  yarn  imported  from  Ahmadabad  ?  Why  should 
American  cloth  be  imported  free  into  Bombay  when  woollen 
carpets  from  Ahmadabad  were  subject  to  a  heavy  duty  in 
New  York  ?  These  questions  still  await  a  final  answer. 
Since  Ranchhodlal  wrote,  the  demand  for  Protection,  even 
against  British  goods,  has  grown  more  insistent,  and  is  one 
of  the  chief  elements  in  the  cry  for  fiscal  autonomy  which 
the  Indian  politician  considers  the  panacea  for  all  ills.  It 
is  probable  that  before  long  the  whole  question  of  tariffs 
will  have  to  be  tackled  by  the  liberalised  administration 
introduced  by  the  Government  of  India  Act  of  1919. 

This  resume  of  Ranchhodlal's  activities  in  the  political 
sphere  may  conclude  with  a  few  remarks  on  his  attitude 
towards  the  question  of  widow-remarriage.  Some  few 
years  ago,  as  the  result  of  an  agitation  headed  by  a  well- 
known  Parsi  philanthropist,  the  late  Mr.  B.  M.  Malabari, 


the  Bombay  Government  was  pressed  to  take  legislative 
action  against  "  enforced  widowhood  "  and  "  infant  mar- 
riage." Ranchhodlal,  on  being  consulted  officially  by 
Government  on  the  subject,  laid  down  the  perfectly  sound 
proposition  that  as  the  matters  at  issue  were  closely  bound 
up  with  Hindu  social  and  religious  customs,  it  was  mani- 
festly undesirable  that  the  State  should  interfere  with  them. 
He  deprecated  the  use  of  the  term  "  enforced  widowhood," 
on  the  ground  that  a  Hindu  widow  of  respectable  birth, 
however  deplorable  her  condition  might  be,  willingly  set  her 
face  against  re-marriage  from  religious  conviction  and  a  sense 
of  honour,  and  that  it  would  be  extremely  difficult  for 
Government  to  distinguish  between  the  few  instances  in 
which  widowhood  might  truly  be  described  as  "  enforced  " 
and  the  great  mass  of  cases  in  which  the  widow  voluntarily 
accepted  the  conditions  and  penances  prescribed  by  Hindu 
belief  and  custom.  Government  had,  in  his  opinion,  gone 
as  far  as  was  desirable  in  legalizing  widow-remarriage  by 
Act  XVIII  of  1856,  and  it  was  manifestly  improper  that 
it  should  now  take  further  powers  to  compel  an  unwilling 
widow  to  re-marry.  Contact  with  Western  thought  and 
civilisation  was  bound,  in  Ranchhodlal's  opinion,  to  soften 
the  asperities  of  ancient  Hindu  custom,  and  it  was  wiser 
policy  to  await  the  gradual  alteration  of  harsh  beliefs  by 
such  agency  than  to  endeavour  to  hasten  the  process  by 
legislation.  Ranchhodlal  freely  admitted  the  justice  of 
the  charges  levelled  by  reformers  against  the  system  of 
infant  marriage  ;  but  he  laid  stress  at  the  same  time  on  the 
fact  that  the  evil  was  a  social  one  and  could  therefore  be 
best  dealt  with  by  society.  To  invite  the  legislature  to 
usurp  the  function  of  society  was  tantamount  to  disturbing 
the  social  order  and  striking  at  the  very  root  of  social 
rights  and  privileges.  Ranchhodlal's  advice  was  un- 
questionably correct.  Matters  have  advanced  since  his  day  ; 
but  it  is  doubtful  whether  the  progress  of  public  opinion 
even  now  has  been  sufficiently  marked  to  warrant  the 
interference  of  Government  in  customs  which  date  back 


to  hoary  antiquity.  As  education,  particularly  the  educa- 
tion of  women,  extends  among  all  classes,  and  provided  the 
advocates  of  reform  act  in  consonance  with  their  outward 
professions,  the  general  community  will  in  time  spontaneously 
relinquish  customs  and  beliefs  that  date  back  to  less  en- 
lightened and  less  philanthropic  ages. 


Chapter  VII. 

Public  Charity,  Home  Life,  Character 
and  Death. 

The  large  fortune  which  Ranchhodlal  amassed  by  his 
own  efforts  was  freely  spent  on  charitable  objects  irrespective 
of  caste  and  class.  Hospitals,  educational  institutions, 
technical  and  literary  societies,  urban  development,  all 
profited  from  time  to  time  by  his  benevolence.  Up  to  the 
year  1878,  Ahmadabad  possessed  only  one  institution  for 
medical  relief,  besides  the  Government  Civil  Hospital, 
namely  the  Becherdas  dispensary,  founded  by  the  late 
Rao  Bahadur  Becherdas  Ambaidas,  C.S.I.  Realising  that 
this  dispensary  was  unable  to  treat  more  than  a  small 
proportion  of  the  urban  population,  and  that  further 
medical  relief  was  essential,  Ranchhodlal  in  1878  built 
and  equipped  at  his  own  expense  a  large  dispensary  in  the 
railway  suburb  of  Ahmadabad.  By  1881  the  success  of 
this  institution  was  assured  and  Ranchhodlal  therefore 
offered  to  transfer  it  to  the  charge  of  municipality,  which 
agreed  to  the  proposal  on  condition  that  the  donor  provided 
funds  for  its  maintenance.  Ranchhodlal  immediately 
offered  an  endowment  fund  of  Rs.  20,000  ;  and  subse- 
quently, after  the  dispensary  had  been  placed  under  muni- 
cipal management,  he  bestowed  further  sums  for  the 
extension  of  the  main  buildings,  to  admit  of  the  housing  of 
indoor  patients  and  of  an  increased  hospital  staff,  and 
offered  an  additional  sum  of  Rs.  5,000  for  the  cost  of  accom- 
modating distressed  persons  of  the  middle  and  lower  classes, 
who  could  not  afford  to  pay  the  visiting  fees  of  doctors  and 
were  at  the  same  time  too  ill  to  visit  the  dispensary  as  out- 
door patients.     To  provide  food  for  this  class  of  patients 


he  also  gave  an  annual  donation  of  Rs.  500.  Located  in  a 
convenient  centre,  this  dispensary  has  proved  an  undoubted 
boon  to  the  people  of  Ahmadabad  and  surrounding  villages  ; 
more  than  20,000  persons  are  treated  by  it  every  year,  and 
its  extension  and  efficiency  are  promoted  by  regular  donations 
from  the  charitably  disposed. 

The  subject  of  medical  relief  for  women  did  not  escape 
Ranchhodlal's  attention.  In  1885  he  offeied  an  endowment 
of  Rs.  20,000  for  the  provision  of  a  women's  hospital  ;  but 
the  matter  was  for  the  time  being  shelved  as  the  Govern- 
ment were  unable,  owing  to  financial  stringency,  to  promise, 
their  usual  contribution  to  the  funds  of  the  new  institution. 
Ranchhodlal  however,  after  a  little  delay,  revived  the 
question,  and  in  addition  to  the  endowment  previously 
promised  offered  to  pay  half  the  salary  of  the  medical 
woman  in  charge  of  the  hospital,  provided  that  her  total 
emoluments  did  not  exceed  Rs.  200  a  month.  On  this 
occasion  a  Government  grant  was  forthcoming,  with  the 
result  that  on  April  1st,  1889,  the  hospital  was  opened  under 
the  title  of  the  Victoria  Jubilee  Female  Dispensary. 

Not  content  with  these  two  institutions,  Ranchhodlal 
opened  about  the  year  1895  a  Home  Medical  Relief  Institu- 
tion, which  bears  his  own  name.  His  object  was  to  provide 
medical  relief  for  such  of  the  poorer  classes  as  might  be 
unable  to  walk  to  a  charitable  dispensary,  including  the 
services  of  a  doctor  who  would  visit  them  in  their  own 
homes.  A  pensioned  servant  of  Government,  who  had 
held  the  rank  of  first-class  hospital  assistant,  was  engaged, 
and  for  the  first  year  of  its  working  the  total  cost  of  the 
institution  was  borne  in  equal  shares  by  Ranchhodlal  and 
the  municipality.  Thereafter,  as  the  work  proved  success- 
ful, Ranchhodlal  placed  it  on  a  permanent  basis  by  an 
endowment  of  Rs.  25,000,  and  handed  over  its  maintenance 
to  the  municipal  authorities.  The  scheme  has  proved  of 
benefit  to  thousands  of  bed-ridden  patients. 

At  a  later  date  Ranchhodlal,  who  had  remarked  the 
success  attending  the  dispensary  founded  by  him  in  the 


railway  suburb,  offered  a  sum  of  Rs.  70,000  towards  the 
expense  of  raising  it  to  the  status  of  a  recognised  Civil 
Hospital,  but  the  Bombay  Government  unable  at  the  time 
to  provide  the  prescribed  grant-in-aid  were  reluctantly 
forced  to  decline  the  offer.  Baulked  in  this  direction, 
Ranchhodlal  decided  to  extend  the  scope  of  his  arrangements 
for  medical  relief  by  the  establishment  of  a  travelling 
dispensary.  He  therefore  set  aside  a  sum  of  Rs.  20,000 
for  the  regular  distribution  of  medicines  to  the  poorer 
villagers  of  the  Daskroi  taluka,  in  which  the  city  of  Ahmada- 
bad  is  situated.  He  also  provided  medical  relief  at  his 
own  proprietary  village  of  Auganaj. 

Education  was  another  subject  very  close  to  Ranch- 
hodlal's  heart.  When  the  Gujarat  Arts  College,  which 
since  1879  has  been  affiliated  to  the  Bombay  University, 
was  about  to  be  established,  Ranchhodlal  devoted  several 
thousand  rupees  towards  its  maintenance  fund,  and  after- 
wards, as  one  of  the  Board  of  Directors,  made  every  effort 
to  promote  the  interests  of  the  College,  giving  handsome 
donations  towards  the  cost  of  the  building  and  providing 
at  his  own  expense  a  number  of  rooms  in  the  students' 
residential  quarters.  He  also  founded  a  monthly  scholarship 
of  ten  rupees,  tenable  for  the  whole  period  of  the  collegiate 
course,  for  students  of  his  own  caste.  The  lower  classes 
also  were  not  forgotten  ;  for  he  established  in  the  Shahpur 
ward  of  the  city  a  vernacular  school  for  the  education  of 
the  children  of  his  mill-operatives,  which  bears  his  own 
name,  and  many  a  poor  student  benefited  by  Ranchhodlal's 
catholic  benevolence,  receiving  pecuniary  aid  towards  the 
purchase  of  books  and  the  payment  of  school  fees.  On  the 
subject  of  female  education  also  Ranchhodlal's  views  were 
progressive.  His  knowledge  of  the  Hindu  Shastras  acted 
as  a  constant  reminder  that  in  former  ages  women  freely 
partook  of  such  education  as  was  then  available  and  fre- 
quently played  no  inconsiderable  role  in  the  social  and 
intellectual  life  of  ancient  India.  The  almost  universal 
ignorance  of  Hindu  women  in  his  own  day  struck  Ranchhodlal 


as  a  reproach  to  his  countrymen  and  as  inconsistent  with 
the  ancient  ideals  of  Hinduism.  These  views  underlay  his 
foundation  of  a  girls'  school  at  a  cost  of  Rs.  12,000  in  the 
Khadia  ward  of  the  city.  He  supplemented  this  sum  at 
a  later  date  with  a  donation  of  Rs.  2,000  for  the  provision 
of  scholarships  for  the  more  intelligent  girls  ;  and  after  his 
death,  his  son  Madhavlal  crowned  the  work  by  purchasing 
a  new  school  building  in  a  more  convenient  situation  and 
securing  the  permanent  maintenance  of  the  school. 

Among  Ranchhodlal's  miscellaneous  charities  may  be 
mentioned  his  contribution  towards  the  building  of  a 
dharmashala1  near  the  Sabarmati  railway  junction  ;  his 
erection  in  the  Khadia  ward  of  a  hall  for  religious  and  social 
gatherings,  costing  more  than  Rs.  7,000  ;  his  donation  of 
Rs.  7,000  to  the  Sanatan  Vaidik  Dharma  Samrakshak  Sabha — 
a  society  which  he  founded  for  the  weekly  discussion  of 
religious  topics  ;  the  establishment  of  a  free  kitchen  for 
poor  railway-travellers  ;  his  donation  of  Rs.  2,000  to  the 
Gujarat  vernacular  society  to  defray  the  cost  of  propaganda 
directed  against  intemperance  ;  his  liberal  donation  towards 
the  Imperial  Institute  in  London  ;  public  dinners  to  the 
poor  ;  the  building  of  ghats  at  various  tirths  and  holy  places 
for  the  convenience  of  pilgrims  ;  and  lastly,  the  establish- 
ment of  an  asylum  for  orphans  of  both  sexes  in  the  Shahpur 
ward  of  Ahmadabad.  In  this  institution  orphan  children 
of  all  castes  were  boarded  and  clothed  at  Ranchhodlal's 
expense,  the  boys,  as  they  grew  up,  being  given  work  in  his 
mills  and  the  girls  being  married  and  settled  in  life  under 
the  auspices  of  their  patron  and  protector.  The  orphanage 
still  nourishes  and  carries  on  the  beneficent  objects  of  the 

Though  necessarily  less  known  to  the  official  public  and 
the  outer  world,  Ranchhodlal's  household  and  private 
charities  in  no  wise  lagged  behind  his  public  benefactions. 
His  Indian  biographer  is  our  authority  for  the  statement 

1  Literally  "  a  pious  edifice  "  ;  a  rest-house  for  wayfarers,  corresponding 
to  the  South  Indian  Choultry  01  Chuttrum. 


that  Ranchhodlal's  house  was  pre-eminent  in  this  respect 
among  the  whole  Brahman  communit}^  of  Gujarat.  Food 
and  clothing  were  daily  distributed  to  mendicants  of  every 
class  ;  railway  tickets  were  purchased  for  Brahmans  and 
ascetics  bound  upon  long  journe3Ts  to  distant  shrines ; 
needy  Pandits,  poor  students,  struggling  poets  were  helped 
according  to  their  needs  and  their  merits.  To  meet  all  these 
claims  upon  his  benevolence  he  set  aside  in  early  years  a 
tenth,  and  in  later  years  almost  three-quarters,  of  his 
princely  income.  No  element  of  caprice  or  vanity  marred 
his  charity  ;  he  gave  of  his  great  wealth  to  them  that  needed 
it  because  he  believed  it  to  be  his  duty  to  do  so. 

As  may  be  imagined,  Ranchhodlal's  home  life  was 
singularly  happy,  and  the  obedience  and  affection  which  he 
had  shown  to  his  parents  was  in  due  course  repaid  to 
him  in  full  by  his  own  children.  Ranchhodlal's  mother  died 
in  1863  ;  his  father  in  1869  ;  but  the  heaviest  blow  that 
befell  him  was  the  death  of  his  wife,  Jethiba,  in  1876,  when 
he  was  in  his  fiftieth  year.  Thereafter  he  lived  for  his 
children  alone,  for  he  never  married  again,  widening  the 
mental  outlook  of  his  son  and  grandson  by  lessons  drawn 
from  his  own  experience  and  by  daily  discussion  with  them 
of  both  public  and  private  affairs.  So  long  as  he  lived  they 
rendered  him  unquestioning  obedience,  and  the  peace  of  the 
home  was  never  broken  b}^  minor  disagreement  nor  over- 
shadowed bj^  domestic  strife.  Ranchhodlal's  daily  life 
was  ordered  with  the  same  care  as  his  business  undertakings. 
He  rose  at  five  a.m.,  and  after  the  performance  of  his  ablu- 
tions spent  two  hours  in  the  religious  rites  or  karmas  pre- 
scribed for  Brahmans  in  Hindu  lore.  Then  for  an  hour  or 
so  he  would  walk  or  drive  in  the  open  air,  and  after  visiting 
the  mills  and  the  municipal  works  under  construction  in 
various  quarters  of  the  city  would  return  home  about  noon 
for  the  mid-day  meal.  From  an  early  age  his  first  morning 
meal  consisted  of  a  little  tea  and  a  plum  steeped  in  candy 
syrup,  so  that  he  was  quite  ready  for  his  mid-day  dinner 
after  his  exercise  in  the  open  air.     On  his  return  to  the 


.house  he  bathed  again  .donned  the  silken  cloth  of  the  orthodox 
Hindu,  performed  the  minor  Vaishvadeva  sacrifice,  and  then 
sat  down  to  his  meal  in  company  with  the  male  members 
of  the  household.  Dinner  ended,  he  spent  a  couple  of  hours 
in  reading  business  and  official  correspondence  and  also 
the  newspapers,  of  which  he  subscribed  to  a  large  number. 
This  work,  together  with  the  interviewing  of  visitors,  lasted 
till  about  five  p.m.,  when  he  would  drive  to  the  Municipal 
office  and  there  transact  business  until  eight-thirty  or  nine 
p.m.  Returning  home,  he  repeated  the  evening  prayers, 
took  a  light  supper,  and  then  at  ten  p.m.  retired  to  his 
couch  for  the  night. 

Socially  Ranchhodlal  was  an  agreeable  personality.  He 
was  always  accessible  to  visitors  and  was  ever  ready  with 
advice  and  assistance  to  those  who  needed  it.  Europeans, 
Indians  of  all  castes,  rich  capitalists,  struggling  traders  and 
mendicants,  all  gained  free  admittance  to  his  home  or  office 
and  met  with  equal  consideration  at  his  hands.  He  kept  his 
worries  and  troubles  to  himself,  never  allowing  the  cares  of 
outside  life  to  intrude  upon  the  peace  of  his  home.  He 
affected  the  utmost  simplicity  of  dress  and,  in  spite  of  his 
wealth  and  commercial  standing,  bore  himself  with  such 
humility  and  absence  of  pretension  that  the  poorest  of  his 
callers  and  acquaintances  felt  at  ease  in  his  presence.  No 
scandal,  no  rumour  of  evil  ever  touched  his  private  life 
which,  like  his  public  career,  was  fully  occupied  in  devising 
plans  for  the  happiness  or  welfare  of  those  around  him.  He 
was  a  genuine  disciple  of  peace,  in  that  he  never  tried  to  force 
his  views  upon  others,  but  was  content  to  represent  them 
in  tactful  language,  free  of  all  trace  of  passion  or  intolerant 
contempt.  He  was  averse  likewise  from  identifying  himself 
with  ultra-radical  principles  and  opinions,  in  the  belief 
that  these  would  necessarily  arouse  fierce  resistance  to  the 
policy  of  their  holders,  and  that  reform  in  any  direction 
must,  to  be  successful,  come  from  within  rather  than  be 
enforced  from  without.  Thus,  orthodox  and  conservative 
Brahman  as  he  was,  he  was  able,  without  incurring  odium 


or  censure,  to  point  out  and  in  a  measure  correct  some  of 
the  defects  which  had  become  apparent  in  the  ancient 
religion  and  social  customs  of  his  country.  With  all  his 
innate  conservatism  none  kept  a  mind  more  open  to  the 
progressive  spirit  of  the  age,  and  none  showed  greater 
capacity  than  he  for  gauging  the  force  and  tendency  of 
public  opinion. 

In  personal  appearance  Ranchhodlal  was  of  medium 
height,  with  an  aquiline  nose,  large  eyes  set  well  apart,  and 
a  high  intellectual  brow.  At  all  seasons  of  the  year  he  was 
accustomed  to  wear  a  long  black  coat,  with  a  Kashmir 
shawl  thrown  over  his  shoulder,  and  a  turban  of  a  deep 
crimson  colour.  The  latter  was  often  not  rewound  for  two 
or  three  months  at  a  time  ;  the  coat  frequently  lacked  a 
button  here  and  there  ;  both  often  needed  a  good  brushing 
to  rid  them  of  fragments  of  cotton-waste  picked  up  in  the 
daily  visit  to  the  mills.  But,  as  remarked  above,  Ranch- 
hodlal was  simple,  almost  careless,  in  the  matter  of  dress, 
and  was  far  too  deeply  absorbed  in  commercial  and  municipal 
problems  to  be  able  to  devote  attention  to  his  personal 
appearance.  He  did  not  meet  with  any  less  respect  on  this 
account  from  the  public,  for  his  courtliness  of  manner  and 
obvious  good  breeding  produced  far  more  impression  than 
his  harmless  eccentricities  of  dress. 

As  mentioned  above,  Ranchhodlal  was  an  extremely 
orthodox  Nagar  Brahman.  From  the  date  of  his  upanayana 
ceremony,  when  he  was  eight  years  old,  until  his  death  at 
the  age  of  seventy-six,  not  a  day  passed  that  he  did  not 
repeat  the  Sandhya  V  and  an  prayers  and  perform  all  the 
religious  ceremonies  prescribed  by  Hindu  lore.  His  faith 
in  the  Brahmanic  religion  remained  ever  unshaken,  and  under 
his  orders  Brahmans  were  engaged  daily  to  recite  hymns 
and  sacred  texts  from  the  Vedas  for  the  preservation  of  the 
health  and  prosperity  of  the  family.  In  the  case  of  illness 
in  the  household,  special  appeals  and  gifts  were  offered  to  the 
god  Rudra  ;  on  one  occasion,  some  years  before  his  death, 
he  performed  a  Gayatri  Purascharana  sacrifice  at  enormous 


cost,  distributing  very  liberal  dakshina  or  cash  presents 
among  the  Brahmans  who  attended  the  ceremony  ;  while 
in  1896  he  arranged  for  the  performance  on  a  magnificent 
scale  of  the  Sahasra  Chandi  Yajna  on  the  highest  peak 
of  the  Aravalli  hills,  where  there  is  a  famous  shrine  of  the 
mother-goddess  Ambika.  His  belief  in  the  various  deities 
of  the  Vedas  and  Puranas  was  sincere,  and  throughout  his 
life  he  took  particular  pleasure  in  hearing  stories  and  legends 
from  Hindu  myth  and  epic.  Coupled  with  his  devotion 
to  the  gods  and  goddesses  of  Hinduism  was  a  very  tender 
regard  for  animal  life,  and  the  slaughter  of  animals  was 
rigidly  proscribed  in  the  various  sacrifices  which  he  performed. 
The  sight  of  the  blood  of  a  goat  streaming  upon  the  altar 
of  a  goddess  moved  him  on  one  occasion  so  deeply  that  he 
made  a  personal  appeal  to  the  Rana,  within  whose  territory 
the  shrine  lay,  to  abolish  the  custom  of  sacrificing  live 
animals.  On  the  occasion  of  a  solar  or  lunar  eclipse, 
when  according  to  Hindu  ideas  every  worthy  action  is 
rendered  a  thousand  times  more  meritorious  and  more 
pleasing  to  the  gods,  Ranchhodlal  would  visit  with  his 
family  the  most  sacred  places  in  India,  such  as  Benares, 
Hardwar  and  Prayag  (Allahabad)  and  there  distribute 
large  sums  in  charity.  On  one  occasion  his  Indian  bio- 
grapher spent  a  few  days  with  him,  at  the  time  of  an  eclipse, 
in  Chandod  Karnali  on  the  banks  of  the  sacred  river  Narbada, 
otherwise  known  as  the  Rewa,  which  rises  on  the  summit 
of  the  Amarkantak  plateau  in  Central  India  and  enters  the 
sea  below  Broach  in  the  Bombay  Presidency.  "  We  all 
went  to  the  river  bank,"  writes  his  biographer,  "  where  we 
counted  our  beads  until  the  eclipse  was  over.  It  was  a 
touching  sight  to  see  the  old  gentleman,  clad  only  in  his 
bright  yellow  silken  wrap,  seated  with  his  right  arm  across 
his  breast  on  a  pile  of  darbha  grass  and  muttering  the  mantras 
(sacred  formulae)  with  deep  faith  and  mental  concentration. 
His  features  bore  the  impress  of  serenity  and  he  looked 
like  one  of  the  Oriental  sages  or  Rishis  of  old  time  meditating 
on  the  glory  of  the  Supreme  Being." 


Ranchhodlal  was  very  fond  of  hearing  Haridasa  Kathas, 
especially  on  the  anniversaries  of  the  death  of  his  parents 
and  sisters,  and  during  the  last  six  months  of  his  life  he 
arranged  for  the  weekly  recitation  in  his  house  of  poems 
in  praise  of  Rama  and  Krishna  composed  by  modern  writers 
and  devotees.  Every  part  of  the  Sruti,  the  Smriti  and  the 
Pur  anas,  dealing  with  the  glory  of  God  and  enjoining 
morality  and  the  subordination  of  the  lower  elements  in 
human  nature  to  its  spiritual  side,  commanded  his  deepest 
reverence  and  admiration.  Not  a  single  Vrata  (vow) 
prescribed  by  the  Shastras,  no  matter  how  difficult  or  costly 
its  performance  might  be,  was  neglected  in  his  household. 
The  dana  or  religious  gifts,  which  play  so  large  a  part  in  the 
performance  of  such  ceremonies,  were  granted  with  un- 
sparing hand,  and  the  Brahmans  profited  by  the  gift  to  them 
of  hundreds  of  cows  and  of  provision  for  their  sustenance 
for  twelve  months.  Horses,  together  with  funds  sufficient 
to  feed  them  for  a  veer,  and  quantities  of  emblematic  gold 
flowers,  consecrated  on  various  occasions  to  his  household 
gods,  were  likewise  distributed  among  the  priests  of  his 
faith.  Yet  while  thus  observing  the  customs  and  practice 
of  Hindu  orthodoxy,  Ranchhodlal  was  tolerant  of  any 
other  faith  that  appeared  to  him  to  be  based  upon  true 
morality.  His  absence  of  bigotry,  and  indeed  his  attitude 
of  tolerance  led  on  occasions  to  his  ideas  being  widely  mis- 
construed by  his  own  co-religionists  and  to  the  prevalence  of 
a  suspicion  that  his  faith  in  Hinduism  was  unstable. 
Nothing  could  have  been  further  from  the  truth.  To 
the  end  of  his  long  and  active  .Hfe,  Ranchhodlal  remained 
a  devout  Hindu,  staunch  to  the  faith  of  his  fathers.  Lesser 
minds  could  not  understand  that  genuine  devotion  to  one's 
own  creed  is  not  necessarily  incompatible  with  an  attitude 
of  tolerance  towards  the  ideals  and  tenets  of  other  faiths. 

From  the  refined  character  of  his  personal  religion 
doubtless  arose  his  strong  sense  of  duty  in  worldly  affairs. 
No  personal  inclination,  no  afterthought  was  allowed  to 
conflict  with  what  he  believed  to  be  his  obligations  towards 


others  ;  and  once  he  had  pledged  his  word  or  made  a  promise 
no  amount  of  argument  or  moral  pressure  sufficed  to  make 
him  resile  from  it.  His  trustworthiness  in  this  respect 
became  proverbial  in  Ahmadabad.  Even  in  the  most 
trifling  matters  of  everyday  routine  no  consideration  of 
personal  convenience  was  allowed  to  interfere  with  engage- 
ments entered  into  with  others,  and  he  was  scrupulously 
careful  to  avoid  making  any  promise  which  he  felt  in  any 
way  doubtful  of  his  ability  to  perform.  Forbearance  was 
another  notable  trait  in  his  character,  and  the  oanskrit 
motto  which  headed  his  notepaper,  meaning  "  There  is  no 
weapon  like  forbearance,"  may  be  truly  considered  to  have 
been  one  of  the  guiding  principles  of  his  life.  In  the  face 
of  great  provocation,  he  never  gave  way  to  anger  nor  lost 
control  of  himself  ;  the  most  irritating  circumstances  failed 
to  ruffle  his  temper  ;  and  in  the  height  of  bitter  controversy 
his  language  was  always  that  of  a  calm  and  dispassionate 
advocate.  His  patience,  when  attacked,  was  so  great  that 
others,  who  sided  with  him,  were  sometimes  disposed  to 
take  up  the  cudgels  on  his  behalf.  When,  for  example,  the 
waterworks  were  under  construction  and  Ranchhodlal, 
on  his  daily  rounds  of  inspection,  was  greeted  with  abuse 
and  insult  by  the  more  ignorant  citizens,  his  family  berged 
him  to  relinquish  all  active  interest  in  his  projects  and  so 
obviate  the  chance  of  contumely.  "  Their  insults,"  replied 
Ranchhodlal,  "  surely  do  me  no  harm,  for  what  I  have 
been  doing  is  for  their  good,  and  from  good  no  evil  can 
result.  Their  treatment  of  me  resembles  that  of  children 
who,  when  bitter  medicines  are  administered  to  them,  kick 
and  abuse  those  around  them  in  ignorance  of  their  beneficial 
effects,  but  are  grateful  when  recovery  follows.  These  very 
people  will  soon  discover  their  mistake  and  instead  of 
cursing  will  bless  me."  He  lived  to  see  this  prophecy 
fulfilled  to  the  very  letter.  Many  other  instances  of  his 
forbearance  live  in  the  memories  of  his  contemporaries  and 
need  no  mention  here.  Let  it  suffice  that  his  patient  toler- 
ance at  length  turned  many  a  scoffer  and  opponent  into  an 


admirer  and  friend,  and  that  it  is  gratefully  remembered 
to  this  day  by  people  of  all  classes  in  Ahmadabad. 

With  this  forbearance  towards  the  foibles  of  others 
Ranchhodlal  combined  a  capacity  for  close  and  regular 
supervision  of  the  work  of  his  subordinates.  This  was 
particularly  noticeable  in  his  household  affairs,  which,  as 
he  was  wont  to  remark,  are  apt  to  become  disorganised, 
even  where  a  hundred  servants  are  employed,  if  the  master 
of  the  house  is  lacking  in  vigilance.  These  views  were 
responsible  for  his  rising  at  an  unusually  early  hour,  when 
guests  were  staying  in  the  house,  in  order  to  see  that  his 
servants  were  up  betimes  and  ministering  to  the  visitors' 
requirements  ;  they  were  likewise  responsible  when  there 
was  illness  in  the  home,  for  his  close  personal  superintendence 
of  the  sick  chamber.  Once  the  doctor  had  been  called  in 
and  had  given  his  orders,  it  was  Ranchhodlal  himself  who 
saw  that  the  treatment  was  duly  carried  out.  Yet  he  was 
not  a  hard  master,  and  was  naturally  disposed  to  make 
allowances  for  the  errors  and  failings  of  those  beneath  him 
rather  than  to  magnify  and  punish  them  harshly.  Con- 
sequently there  were  few  who  were  not  proud  to  serve  him 
and  who  did  not  consider  themselves  well  repaid  if  they 
earned  his  confidence  and  commendation. 

Ranchhodlal's  equanimity  of  temper  has  already  been 
remarked,  and  this  virtue  coupled  with  a  surprisingly 
retentive  memory  and  a  natural  ability  to  grasp  the  salient 
features  of  a  problem,  enabled  him  on  more  than  one 
occasion  to  render  great  assistance  both  to  Government 
and  the  public.  Thus  at  the  time  when  serious  Hindu- 
Mahommedan  riots  had  broken  out  in  Bombay  and  sectarian 
feeling  was  running  high  in  various  centres  of  the  Presidency, 
Ranchhodlal  contrived  by  conciliatory  measures  and 
address  to  avert  a  rupture  between  the  Hindu  and  Moslem 
populations  of  Ahmadabad.  Again,  during  the  early  years 
of  the  disastrous  plague  epidemics,  when  the  people  of 
Bombay,  Poona,  Surat  and  other  places  were  suffering 
much  from  regulations  designed  in  all  honesty  to  combat 


the  spread  of  the  disease,  Ranchhodlal  by  dint  of  the  studied 
moderation  of  his  langrage  and  his  reasoned  explanation 
to  Government  of  the  popular  needs  and  apprehensions, 
was  able  to  secure  for  Ahmadabad  immunity  from  the  more 
vexatious  rules  and  restrictions  which  unfortunately  led 
elsewhere  to  disturbances  and  the  temporary  dislocation 
of  business.  And  here  we  may  remark  that  while  deeply 
attached  to  his  own  country  and  compatriots  Ranchhodlal 
never  permitted  their  complaints  or  dissatisfaction  to  lessen 
his  fundamental  regard  and  respect  for  the  British.  As 
in  the  case  of  the  early  plague  regulations,  Ranchhodlal's 
views,  like  those  of  his  countrymen,  were  occasionally 
opposed  to  those  of  Europeans  ;  but  such  divergences  of 
policy  and  opinion  never  overshadowed  the  admiration 
which  he  openly  showed  for  the  courage  and  practical 
efficiency  of  the  latter.  He  believed  firmly  in  the  bona- fides 
of  the  Englishman,  whether  official  or  non-official,  and  on 
that  very  account  held  a  far  stronger  position  as  the  leader 
and  spokesman  of  his  countrymen  in  Gujarat  than  could 
have  been  attained  by  a  less  broadminded  or  less  impartial 

Ranchhodlal  died  on  the  26th  October,  1898,  in  his 
seventy-sixth  year.  His  intellectual  and  mental  faculties 
remained  unimpaired  to  the  last.  But  for  several  years 
before  his  death  he  suffered  from  a  chronic  pulmonary 
complaint  which  ultimately  proved  fatal.  Entire  cessation 
from  active  work,  when  the  disease  was  in  its  early  stages, 
might  perhaps  have  arrested  its  progress  ;  but  Ranchhodlal 
was  far  too  deeply  engrossed  in  public  and  private  work  to 
embrace  a  life  of  idleness,  and  made  shift  therefore  to  fight 
the  enemy  with  tonics  and  other  medicines.  The  pain 
which  accompanied  the  malady  usually  attacked  him  after 
midnight,  and  one  who  was  an  inmate  of  his  house  describes 
Ranchhodlal  awaking  from  sleep  and  perforce  sitting  up 
for  hours  until  the  agony  had  passed.  Later  the  attacks 
at  night  became  more  violent  and  he  was  not  free  from 
occasional  pain  during  the   day.     Expert  medical   advice 


was  sought  and  every  remedy  was  tried  ;  but  the  disease 
had  obtained  too  firm  a  hold  to  yield  to  treatment.  Other 
symptoms  supervened  ;  his  digestion  failed  in  spite  of 
careful  dieting  ;  symptoms  of  old  age  became  more  marked. 
In  several  letters  written  about  this  time  he  remarks  upon 
his  growing  lack  of  energy  and  contemplates  the  relinquish- 
ment of  active  work,  but  is  afraid  to  follow  this  course  lest 
the  change  should  aggravate  his  illness.  His  friends  and 
relatives  besought  him  often  to  take  a  prolonged  rest,  but 
he  could  not  be  persuaded  to  give  up  the  habits  of  a  lifetime, 
and  was  actually  engrossed  in  municipal  affairs  till  within 
a  few  hours  of  his  death.  The  day  before  he  died  he  seemed 
a  little  better  and  went  for  a  drive.  But  during  the  night 
and  the  following  morning  the  pain  became  almost  un- 
bearable. Many  persons  called  to  enquire  about  him, 
and  were  admitted  to  his  presence  ;  and  from  all  of  them 
he  asked  forgiveness  for  any  wrong  he  might  have  done 
them.  His  medical  attendant  strove  to  alleviate  the  pain, 
and  during  such  momentary  relief  as  he  could  give,  Ranch- 
hodlal  murmured  his  final  prayers  to  God.  At  length, 
after  oxygen  had  been  administered  and  further  relief  had 
become  impossible  he  sank  into  a  condition  of  semi-coma 
and  passed  away  quietly  at  eleven  p.m. 

The  news  of  his  death  was  received  with  wide-spread 
regret.  Telegrams  and  letters  of  condolence  poured  in  from 
a  wide  circle  of  friends  and  acquaintances  ;  English  and 
Indian  alike  gave  public  expression  to  their  sense  of  loss. 
At  six  a.m.  on  the  following  morning  his  body  was  cremated 
with  the  full  rites  of  the  Hindu  religion,  and  during  the 
twelve  months  following  his  death  his  son,  Madhavlal, 
devoted  a  very  large  sum  of  money  to  the  performance  of 
the  various  ceremonies  prescribed  for  the  welfare  and  repose 
of  the  souls  of  the  dead. 

Ranchhodlal's  death  deprived  Ahmadabad  of  the  most 
distinguished  of  its  citizens,  deprived  the  province  of  Gujarat 
of  its  leading  merchant  prince,  and  robbed  the  State  of  one 
of  its  most  loyal  and  devoted  subjects.     His  achievements  in 


the  field  of  commerce  and  urban  government  justly  entitle  him 
to  high  rank  in  the  company  of  those  able  and  distinguished 
men,  both  English  and  Indian,  whose  lives  have  been  devoted 
to  helping  India  along  the  path  of  progress.  He  will  live 
long  in  the  memory  of  the  city,  whose  welfare  he  sought 
with  such  courage  and  consistency.  His  unfaltering 
optimism,  his  public  spirit,  his  unfailing  courtesy,  his 
patriotism  and  catholic  philanthropy — these  are  the 
keynotes  of  a  career  which  must  ever  remain  a  source 
of  pride  and  inspiration  to  his  countrymen* 




Abkari  (from  Persian  ab-kari, 
the  distillation  or  sale  of 
[strong]  waters,  and  the 
excise  levied  upon  such 
business.  In  every  district 
in  India  the  privilege  of 
selling  spirits  is  farmed  to 
contractors,  who  manage 
the  sale  through  retail- 
shopkeepers.  In  Bombay 
the  manufacture  and  sale 
of  liquor  is  controlled  by 
the  provisions  of  an  Abkari 
Act,  and  the  details  of  the 
system  of  Government  con- 
trol vary  in  certain  parts 
of  the  Presidency)  . .     45 

Ahmad  abad  (capital  of  Gujarat 
in  230  2'N.  and  72°  35'  IS,., 
on  the  B.B.  and  C.I.  Rail- 
way. Founded  by  Ahmad 
Shad  [141 1-43]  on  the  left 
bank  of  the  Sabarmati 
river  ;  enclosed  by  walls 
20  feet  high,  entered  by 
fourteen  gates.  Subjugated 
by  Akbar  in  1572,  it  was 
one  of  the  most  splendid 
cities  in  Western  India 
during  the  sixteenth  and 
seventeenth  centuries  ; 
seized  by  the  Marathas  in 
1753  ;  stormed  by  the  Brit- 
ish in  1 780.  It  came  finally 
into  British  possession  in 
1818.     The  city  contains 

many  ancient  buildings  of 
historic  and  architectural 
interest,  and  is  a  famous 
centre  of  industry),  i_iv,  6, 
8,  9,  10,  12,  16,  17,  19,  21- 
23>  25,  26ff,    53#,    63,    64,   65 

Ahmad  abad,  Medical  Institu- 
tions of  . .  53.55 
,,     Municipality  of  26// 
„     Unhealthiness  of      28,  30,  31 

Ambaial,     family     priest     of 

Jethiba  . .  . .      16 

Ambika  (or  Amba  Mata,  one  of 
the  aboriginal  mother-god- 
desses of  the  pre-Aryan 
inhabitants  of  India,  sub- 
sequently absorbed  by 
Brahmanism  into  the  Hin- 
du Pantheon  and  identified 
with  Kali,  Bhavani  and 
Parvati,  who  are  different 
aspects  of  Mahadevi,  the 
Sakti  and  consort  of  Maha- 
dev  or  Siva.  Ambika  is  a 
favourite  goddess  in  Guja- 
rat and  Kathiawar)        . .      60 

Anand  Rai  Mashraf  . .  2,  3 

Aravauj  Hh,i,s      . .  . .     60 

Babis,  the  ..  3  &  note 

Baroda  (capital  of  the  Gaek- 
war's  possessions  in  220  18' 
N.  and  73°  15'  E.,  6i£ 
miles  S.E.  of  Ahmadabad. 
The  city  proper  is  enclosed 
by  the  old  fort- walls,  and 



contains  many  temples 
and  fine  buildings,  inclu- 
ding the  Baroda  College, 
the  State  Library,  the 
Countess  of  Dufferin  Hos- 
pital, the  old  Palace  of  the 
Gaekwar,  and  the  Nazar 
Bagh  Palace,  in  which  are 
stored  the  Gaekwar'sjewels 
valued  at  more  than  3  mil- 
lion rupees),  1,  6,  7,  10,   14,   19 

Baroda,  Bankers  of  19 

,,     Gaekwar  of     . .  . .   3,6 

Bechardas    Ambaedas,     Rao 
Bahadur  ..  22,53 

Bhavnagar(  capital  of  Bhav- 
nagar  State  in  Kathiawar, 
on  the  Gulf  of  Cambay. 
Founded  in  1723,  it  is  one 
of  the  principal  harbours 
of  export  for  cotton  in 
Kathiawar.  The  chief  of 
Bhavnagar  is  a  Gohel 
Rajput)  ..  ..      12 

BholanaTh  Sarabhai,  Mr.  10  <S-  note 

•  C. 
CHHOXALAIv    Udayashankar, 

Birth  . .  3 

Education    .  .  4 

Marriage      . .  4 

Pilgrimages . .  . .        5 

Service  at  Patau  ..  4,6 
Appointed  Bakshi  . .  6 
Moves  to  Ahmadabad  6' 
Character     . .  . .        7 

Death  . .  . .      57 


CLE.  (first  Hindu  Baronet)  iv,  22 
"  City    Walls    Restoration 

Fund,"  The      . .  26,32 

Commission,  Army  Sanitary        29 
Cotton  Spinning  and  Weaving 

Industry,  Growth  of         22,23 


Dadabhai  Navroji,  Mr.  . .  20 
Dakor  (place  of  pilgrimage  in 
Kaira  district  in  220  45'  N. 
and  730  11'  E.,  lying  on  a 
branch  of  the  B.B.  and  C.I. 
Railway.  The  chief  object 
of  interest  is  the  temple 
of  Ranchhodji  or  Krishna)  6, 16 

Daixei,  Sing  Salam  Sing,  of 

Lunawada  ..  15,16 

Darbha  (a  sacred  grass,  Cyno- 
don  dactylon,  belonging  to 
the  borage  species,  which 
is  supposed  to  purify 
everything  that  it  touches 
and  is  used  constantly  in 
Hindu  religious  ceremo- 
nies. It  is  regarded  as  a 
part  of  Vishnu  himself,  a 
festival  being  held  in  its 
honour  on  the  eighth 
day  of  the  light  half  of 
the  Hindu  month  Bha- 
drapad)  .  .  . .      60 

Daskroi  (headquarter  taluka 
of  Ahmadabad  district, 
with  an  area  of  345  square 
miles)  . .  •  •      55 

Desai  (in  Western  and  South- 
ern India  in  former  days 
a  native  official  or  petty 
chief  in  charge  of  a  district 
or  tract  of  country  ;  the 
office  was  often  hereditary. 
These  officials  in  the  Dec- 
can  were  usually  known  as 
Deshmukhs.  The  Desais 
and  Deshmukhs  lost  their 
official  status  under  British 
rule)  ..  -.13 



Devji,    Vithai,   Rao  . .       6 

,,       Govinb  Rao  . .       6 

Drainage  (of  Ahmadabad)  . .  $8ff 

Ducat,  Colonel  W.  M.  32,  36 

Duties,  Cotton  Excise  47. 48 


ECUPSE,  Solar 


Fernandez,  Mr.  J.  F.  28,  30 

Foreign  Trade  and  Protection      50 
FULJAMES,  Major     . .  14,  J  9 

Gaekwari  Districts,  Seques- 
tration of 

Gibb,  Mr.  M.  C.      . . 

GlRASiA  (holder  of  a  giras  or 
portion  of  land  given  for 
subsistence  to  the  cadets  of 
chieftain's  families.  Later 
the  term  giras  was  applied 
to  the  blackmail  paid  by 
,  a  village  to  a  turbulent 
neighbour  as  the  price 
of  his  protection  and  for- 
bearance ;  and  the  title  of 
girasia,  indicating  its  pos- 
sessor to  be  a  cadet  of  the 
ruling  tribe,  consequently 
became  in  several  instances 
a  term  of  opprobrium)    . . 

Gogha  (town  in  the  Dhand- 
huka  taluka  of  Ahmada- 
bad district,  on  the  Gulf 
of  Cambay,  193  miles 
north-west  of  Bombay)    10 

Gujarat  Arts  College 


Haridasa     Katha     (religious 

poems  and  recitatives)  . .      60 

Harris,  Lord          . .  •  •     37 

Hewlett,  T.  G.      . .  38,  39 

Home  Medical  Relief  42,  54 

HOPE,  Sir  Theodore . .  34-37 

Indian  Councils  Act  of  1892  . .     44 
Indian  National  Congress       44.  48 


James,  Mr.  H.  E.  M.  (now  Sir 

JETHIBA,  Parentage  of 
,,       Marriage  of 
„       Attainments  and  Char- 
„       Charged  with  receiving 
a  bribe 



Nature  of  Defence 
Death  of      . . 

16,  17 
••      57 

Kamal-ud-din  Khan  (Jawan 

Mard  Khan)  . .       2,  3  c~  note 

Kashiba,  Birth  of  . .  . .       5 

„      Desertion  of  •  •       7 

Kavasji.  N.  Davar,  Mr.        . .     20 

Khalkuva  (a  cesspool)     29,  30,  31 

Labhma    (wife    of    Chhotalal), 
Marriage  of     . . 
„     Death 
Lalbhai  Udayashankar, 
Birth  of 
„     Receives  Cbhotalal's 




Landon,  Mr.  . .  19, 20 

Latham,  Mr.  Baldwin         39,  40, 41 

I/rjNAWADA       (a     second-class 

Native  State  in  the  Rewa 

Kantha  Agency,  with  an 

area  of  388  square  miles)   1 5,  16 


Madhavlai,  Ranchhodlai, 

iii,  22,  56,  65 

Madhyandin  Shakha  (a  par- 
ticular subdivision  of 
Brahmans  based  upon  the 
fact  that  its  members 
treasure  and  follow  a  par- 
ticular shakha,  <  i.e., 
"branch,"  "copy,"  or 
"  recension  "  of  the  Vedas. 
Those  holding  a  particular 
shakha  are  said  to  belong 
to  it  and  to  be  identified 
with  it.  The  name  Madhy- 
andin is  derived  from  the 
sandhya  (junction)  or  sea- 
son of  worship  at  noon,  to 
which  the  Madhyandin 
Brahmans  attach  much  im- 
portance) . .  . .        2 

Mahi  Kantha  (a  group  of 
States  forming  a  Political 
Agency  under  the  Bombay 
Government,  with  an  area 
of  3125  square  miles.  The 
most  important  Chief  in 
Mahi  Rantha  is  the  Maha. 
raja  of  Idar)     . .  6 

Mahtjda  or  Mhowra  (a  country 
liquor  distilled  from  the 
flowers  of  the  Mahna  tree 
(Bassia  lati folia),  the  chief 
Government  distilleries 
being  situated  at  Uran  on 
Karanja  Island  in  Bombay 
Harbour)  . .  45 

Majumdar  (a  grade  of  public 
officials  under  the  Native 
Governments,    who    were 
usually  paid  for  their  ser- 
vices in  a  district  by  an 
assignment  on  the  revenue, 
Under    Sivaji  in  the  Dec- 
can,  one  of  the  eight  Prad- 
hans   or   ministers  was   a 
Majumdar      or       auditor- 
general)  ..  ..      13 
Malabari,  Mr.  B.  M.             . .      50 
MAiyWA    ( an   extensive   region 
now  included  for  the  most 
part  in  the  Central  India 
Agency, lying  between  the 
Narbadaon  the  south,  the 
Chambal    on    the    north, 
Gujarat  on  the  west,  and 
Bundelkhand,  was  the  seat 
of    famous    Hindu    King- 
doms   prior    to   the    13th 
century               . .              . .        2 
Manekji,  N.  Petit,  Mr.        . .     20 
Mead,  Mr.  P.  J.      . .              . .     43 
Mehetaji    (a    Native    School- 
master)              . .  9 
Mints,  Closing  of  the               46,  47 
Mohotiba  (daughter  of  Chho- 

talal),  Marriage  of       . .       4 
,,       Widowhood  of  . .  4,  7 


Nagar  Brahmans,  the         1,  3,  59 
,,       Origin  of     . .  ..1,2 

,,       Character  of  . .       2 

Narbada,  the  (an  important 
and  very  sacred  river, 
styled  Rewa  in  the  Hindu 
Epics  and  Namados  by 
Ptolemy,  which  rises  in 
Central  India  and  flows 
inio  the  sea  near  Broach, 



after  a  total  course  of  801 



Ogilvy,  Mr.  T. 

12,    14 


Palanpur  (State  in  Bombay 
Presidency  which  with 
Radhanpur  and  smaller 
states  forms  the  Palanpur 
Agency.  The  capital,  Pal- 
anpur, is  a  very  old  settle- 
ment, mentioned  in  the 
eighth  century  . .        3 

Panch  Mahals  (district  in  the 
Northern  Division,  Bom- 
bay Presidency,  compris- 
ing 1,606  square  miles  and 
divided  into  two  parts  by 
a  strip  of  the  Bariya  State 
of  the  Rewa  Kantha 
Agency)  ..  13,23 

Patan  (town  in  2 30  51'  N.  and 
720  10'  E.  in  Baroda  State, 
formerly  famous  as  Anhil- 
vada,  founded  in  A.D.  746 
by  a  Chavada  Ruler  and 
subsequently  held  by  So- 
lankis  and  Vaghelas.  The 
last  Vaghela  Chief  was 
overthrown  by  UlughKhan 
in  1298.  Modern  Patan, 
which  is  surrounded  by  a 
lofty  wall  pierced  by  nu- 
merous gateways,  is  chiefly 
the  product  of  Maratha 
efforts,  and  has  arisen  on 
the  ruins  of  the  ancient 
city.  It  still  contains  the 
remains  of  some  of  the 
ancient  buildings)  3,4,  5, 6 

Pavagarh  (hill-fort  in  the  Kalol 
Taluka,  Panch  Mahals  dis- 
trict, 2,800  feet  above  sea- 
level)  . .  13,  14 

Pols  (blocks  of  houses  or  quar- 
ters, peculiar  to  Ahmada- 
bad,  which  vary  in  size  ■ 
from  small  courts  of  five  to 
ten  houses  to  large  quar- 
ters of  the  city  containing 
as  many  as  10,000  inhabi- 
tants. Each  block  has 
generally  a  main  street 
with  a  gate  at  either  end)  6,  30 

Prankor  (daughter  of  Anand 

Rai  Mashraf),  Marriage  of        3 
„     Death  of  . .  •  •  3.4 

Puranas  ("  Popular  Sectarian 
Compilations  of  Mythology, 
Philosophy,  History  and 
the  Sacred  Law,  intended 
for  the  instruction  of  the 
unlettered  classes,  includ- 
ing the  upper  divisions  of 
the  Sudras  "  ;  the  books, 
which  are  of  various  dates, 
contain  much  matter  car- 
ried down  from  remote 
antiquity.  The      Vayu 

Purana,  one  of  the  oldest, 
was  finally  edited  perhaps 
in  the  fourth  century  A.D.)      61 


Ranchhodji  (a  name  of 

god  Krishna) 
Ranchhodlal  Chhotalal 

..       6 

. .   i-iv 

,,       Caste 


,,       Ancestry 

..       6 

,,       Boyhood 





„       Thread  Ceremony      . .        8 
„       Education    . .  . .  9- 1 1 

„       Enters    Government 

Service        . .  . .      12 

„  Appointed  Daftardar  12 
„  Appointed  to  Pavagarh  1 3 
„  Attitude  of  Baroda  sub- 
ordinate Staff  towards  14,  15 
„  Accused  of  taking  bribe  16 
„  Prosecution  and  Acquit- 
tal . .  16, 17 
„  Nature  of  Defence  16,  17 
„       Deaves   Government 

Service        . .  17,  18 

„  Commercial  Career  19-25 
„  Early  Attempts  to 
found  Textile  Indus- 
try . .  19, 20 
„  Establishes  first  mill  . .  20 
,,  „  second  mill  21 
,,  ,,  third  mill  22 
„  Mercantile  Activity  23-25 
„  Municipal  career  26-43 
„       Member  of  Municipal 

Board         . .  . .     27 

„       Appointed  Chairman . .      28 
„      Issues  Memo,  on  Sani- 
tation . .  28,  29 
„       Proposals  for  Sanitary 

Improvement  30,  3  1 

„       Meets  with  opposition  33-35 
,,       Obtains  sanction  for 

Water  Supply  . .      36 

„       His  Drainage  proposals 

„       Other   Municipal   acti- 
vities . .  41,  42 
„       Political  career  44-52 
„       Member  of  Legislative 

Council       . .  . .     44 

„       Supports  Mahuda  Bill      45 
„       Views  on  Temperance      45 


Views  on  Municipal  Pi- 
nance      . .     46 
Closing    of 

Mints      46,  47 

Duties        47, 48 
Factory  Le- 
gislation       48 
Protection  .  .      50 
marriage 5°-5* 
Attitude    at    National 
Congress     . .  48-50 

Public  Charities  53-56 

Medical  Relief  53-55 

Educational  Benefac- 
tions . .  55.  5& 
Miscellaneous  and  Pri- 
vate Benefactions     . .      56 
Home  Life                   . .      57 
Daily  Routine  5  7, 5  8 
Character     ..              ..58 
Personal  Appearance . .      59 
Orthodoxy  ..                59-6 1 
Services   to    Govern- 
ment          . .               63,  64 
Attitude  towards  Euro- 
peans         . .              . .     64 
Death           .  .              . .     64 
Funeral  Ceremonies  . .     65 
Rajpipla  (State  in  the  Rewa 
Kantha   Political  Agency, 
lying  between  2  i°  23'  and 
2i°59'N.    and    73°5'   and 
740  E.     with    an    area    of 
15 17    square    miles.      The 
chief  is  a  Rajput)              13,  19 
Rajput  Tribes         . .              ..1,3 
RJ3AY,  Lord              . .  ii,  37 
RErx>,  Mr.  G.  B.      . .              . .     37 
Rewa    Kantha    (a    Political 
Agency   with   an   area   of 
4,972   square  miles,  com- 



prising  six  large  and  fifty- 
five  small  Native  States, 
subordinate  to  the  Bombay 

12,  13,  14,  15,  16,  17,  18 
Richey,  Sir  James..  ..      30 

Robb,  Major  . .  . .      34 


Sabarmati  (river  flowing  from 
the  Hills  of  Mewar  through 
Ahmadabad,  the  water- 
supply  of  which  it  pro- 
vides, into  the  Gulf  of  Cam- 
bay,  with  a  course  of  about 
200  miles)  . .  32,  34,  56 

Sabha,  Sanatan  Vaidik  Dhar- 
ma  Samarakshak  (an  As- 
sociation for  the  advance- 
ment of  the  Hindu  religion 
and  discussion  of  religious 
topics)  .,  ..56 

Sadr  Amin  (designation  of  a 
class  of  Native  Judges, 
superseded  in  Bombay  by 
Act  XIV  of  1869,  the  high- 
est rank  being  styled  "Prin- 
cipal Sadr  Amin,"  the 
second  rank  "  Sadr  Amin," 
f  and  the  third  rank  "  Mun- 
sif")  ..  ..8 

Sandhya  Vandan  (daily  reli- 
gious devotions  performed 
in  the  morning  and  evening 
and  at  noon  by  orthodox 
Brahmans)         . .  59 

Sankxeshwar  Joshi  ..     21 

Sarasvati  (a  holy  river  of 
Western  India,  rising  at 
the  south-west  end  of  the 
Aravalli  range  and  flowing 
through  Palanpur,  Rad- 
hanpur,  Baroda  into  the 
Lesser  Rann  of  Cutch )    . .        4 

Sathod  (village  in  Baroda  State)     1 

Sathodra  Nagars,  see  Nagar 

Shastras  (the  Law  Books  or 
sacred  writings  of  the 
Hindus,  from  Sanskrit  sha- 
stra,  "  a  rule,"  "  a  religious 
code,"  "  a  scientific  trea- 
tise ")  . .  . .7, 61 

Smriti  (venerable  Hindu  writ- 
ings, such  as  the  Sutras, 
which  are  classed  as  tra- 
ditional learning  (smriti) 
in  opposition  to  the  older 
Vedas  which  are  regarded 
as  sruti  (inspired  revela- 
tion) .  .  . .     61 

Sruti  (inspired  revelation,  i.e., 

the  Vedas  ;   see  Smriti)  . .     61 

SUTTEE  (or  SaTI,  the  practice  of 
voluntary  self-immolation 
by  a  Hindu  widow  on  her 
husband's  funeral-pyre)  . .       4 


TiRTH  (any  holy  place  of  pil- 
grimage, frequently  situ- 
ated at  the  confluence  of 
two  rivers,  and  visited  by 
large  numbers  of  Hindu 
pilgrims  at  various  seasons 
of  the  year)        . .  ..56 

Udayashankar,  Marriage     . .        3 
,,       Service         . .  . .        3 

Death  ..  3 

Upanayana  (the  ceremony  of 
investiture  of  a  Brahman 
boy  with  the  sacred  triple 
cord,  hung  from  the  left 
shoulder  and  falling  on  the 
right  hip.     It  takes  place 



between  the  ages  of  five 
and  nine,  and  marks  the 
entrance  of  the  Boy  to  the 
stage  of  a  Brahmachari, 
the  first  of  the  four  stages 
in  the  life  of  a  Brahman)  ..8,59 


Vedas,  the  (the  Rigveda,  the 
Samaveda,  the  Yajurveda 
and  the  Atharvaveda,  which 
constitute  the  oldest  litera- 
ture of  the  Indo-Aryans)  59,  60 

Victoria  Jubilee  Female  Dis- 
pensary . .  54 

Vishalnagar  (town  in  Bar- 
oda  State,  lying  t  o  the 
south-east  of  Patan,  found- 
ed by  the  first  ruler  of  the 
Vaghela  dynasty)  .  ,        1 


Watandar  (holder  of  a  watan, 
i.e.,  hereditary  right  to  a 
share  in  land  or  in  the 
district  and  village  estab- 
lishments, the  emoluments 
consisting    of     a     certain 

quantity  of  rent-free  land 
or  of  an  annual  payment 
in  cash  or  in  kind  in  return 
for  services  rendered  to 
the  community) 


Water-Supply,  History  of      32-38 
Wallace,  Major  16,  17 

Yajna  (literally  worship  [in 
prayer  or  praise]  ;  also  a 
sacrificial  rite,  or  sacrifice  ; 
the  latter  being  the  usual 
meaning)  . .  60 

Yajurveda.,  the  White  (The 
Yajurveda,  which  contains 
matter  from  the  Rigveda, 
prose  formulae  and  sacri- 
ficial prayers,  exists  in  two 
collections — the  Krishna, 
or  Black,  and  the  Shukla, 
or  White.  It  is  regarded  as 
one  of  the  four  Vedas  or 
books  of  inspired  revela- 
tion, and  certain  classes  of 
Brahmans  observe  and 
identify  themselves  with 
one  or  other  of  the  two 
main  collections)  . .        2 



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